After his wife died, a grief-torn C.S. Lewis realized, “If I had really cared, as I thought I did, about the sorrows of the world, I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came.”
I don’t know about you, but when I read that quote by C.S. Lewis it hit me hard.
Because like Lewis, I always think I care about the suffering around me.
I really do.
And then, when something hard hits my life and drags me around and around, up and down, and through the wringer for days (nights) on end…I’m so full of my own complaints I lose sight of three things.
1. Perspective – I find it difficult to step outside of my own little world of hurt and begin characterizing this difficult season as my whole life. It isn’t my whole life. It’s only a portion of my life.
2. Other people’s suffering – I become blinded to those who are hurting in dozens of ways more severe than my own. My vision turns inward rather than outward and that alone paralyzes me from acting on behalf of those around me.
3. Every other good thing in my life – I moan and whine and complain all while forgetting every single blessing I do have to be thankful for. Food. Clothing. Family. Friends. Medical care. Being an American citizen. And the list goes on…
I’ve found that when I’m hurting the most is exactly when I most need to be thankful.
It turns things around.
As I’m still working on my 1000 gifts list…up to 415 now…I’m forcing myself to begin each day with giving thanks for five things.
Any five things.
I quickly gain back my perspective, my sensitivity toward others, and my contentment level explodes.
And…my guess is that I’m a lot more pleasant company.