Wednesday, March 25, 2009

24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.

A blessed feast to all! This comes from Christine in Alaska:

When I read which Maxim was mine, I chuckled. Irony, it seems, always wins. I am a huge whiner. I usually like to label my complaining nicely. I’m “venting” or “just airing some problems.” But it’s whining and complaining, all the same. So I thought on this for a few days. What does a whiner -— of whom I am first -— have to say about complaining, grumbling, or murmuring?

I read somewhere that if all the people in the entire world put their problems in a huge pile, we would all take back our original ones. Boy, isn’t that the case! My problems, as a middle-class American, are pretty minor. In the grand scheme of life in general, they really aren’t even a blip on the radar. So why do I insist on expounding on them? It seems that every time I complain about something, that tiny incident -— whatever it may be -— is magnified. And if I complain about it to five people (as I usually do) then it is magnified five times. All of a sudden, I have made a mountain out of that little molehill.

In further retrospection, I realized something. My complaints are really blessings. Take today, for example. My strong-willed daughter is in the midst of her terrible twos. I could grumble about that until the cows come home, and still have breath left over. But instead, I am going to choose to see the many gifts in this situation. Thank you God, for the blessing of her throwing a fit on the floor. That means that we have a floor, and a roof over it. Instead of calling my husband at work to complain about her sassing, I will instead thank God that I have a husband to call. Instead of grumbling that she swiped too many cookies when I wasn’t looking, I will be grateful that she is fed. And when I want to murmur over my pile of dirty laundry, I will instead offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the beautiful little girl who created it.

Truly, I believe this is one of the struggles of the Christian life: to see the grace and blessings of God in all things, however troublesome or mundane. And when I sit and think about it, the even more extraordinary truth is that I am alive and able to complain. I am loved and cared for by God “who so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.” As we draw nearer and nearer to Golgotha, where that Only-Begotten Son died for me and my sins, my heart trembles that I have the audacity to complain when such a price was paid for me! Thank God for forgiveness. Thank God for the Cross. Thank God for the Resurrection!


Mimi said...

Fantastic reflection on this, so true.

Michele Mulder said...

Beautifully written! We are in the same boat sister!

Aelwyn said...

Thanks, Christine! This hit home with me as well. It is so difficult at times to see the blessing attached to the complaint.

The Forty Maxims

  • 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  • 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
  • 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
  • 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
  • 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  • 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  • 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  • 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  • 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
  • 10. Be faithful in little things.
  • 11. Do your work, then forget it.
  • 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  • 13. Face reality.
  • 14. Be grateful.
  • 15. Be cheerful.
  • 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  • 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • 18. Listen when people talk to you.
  • 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
  • 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  • 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  • 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
  • 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
  • 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  • 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  • 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  • 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  • 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  • 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  • 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  • 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  • 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  • 33. Be strict with yourself.
  • 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  • 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
  • 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  • 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  • 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  • 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  • 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.