Appreciating Life Around Us.
My friend’s mother Louise (the grandkids call her MaMa Lou) stopped by his house a while ago to announce that, “This family is a pack of losers! No one ever comes to see me!”
If you knew my friend’s brothers and sisters, you would find this statement quite amusing. One brother created an engineering company and employs 20 people, another brother has an Emmy and multiple Emmy nominations, a sister that raises two downs syndrome kids, another sister that has taught children for nearly 30 years and the list goes on and on.
MaMa Lou has led a blessed life. She appeared to have
it all and yet, she is so miserable. What is missing?
When my friend’s father died, MaMa Lou was left with the blessings of family and financial wellbeing. Yet, she could find joy only in the material things in life. Money, status and the casino. MaMa Lou loved the casino. Family was not important- only if someone had succeeded and she could claim success as her personal achievement. Grandkids were an annoyance. They were not important to her.
The last time I spoke with MaMa Lou, she spoke about being a “poor old lady” that no one cared about. I spent some time with her and challenged her with gratitude. “Look at all of the wonderful things you have been blessed with.” I started pointing out all of things in her life that were going right.
"MaMa Lou look at your blessings, I told her. You're 86 years old AND in good health. How many others would have loved to live a life that long. Look at the success all of your kids have had. Your grandkids. Your friends. The life experiences you've had. The beautiful day. And the things you might not have seen as blessings. The unique people you've met (those with differing points of view). The speeding ticket you got (which is teaching you to drive safe). The cold you caught last week (which is teaching you to take care of yourself). All of these things in life are happening FOR you. They are a gift to you.
Her face immediately changed. She said, “You’re right. I have much to be thankful for.”
MaMa Lou changed. She is much more upbeat and joyful. The change was amazing! She even stopped over at MY HOUSE to say hi to me and ask how my kids were doing! I've heard that gratitude can make you more youthful, well MaMa Lou was proving that! It was so nice to see her smile, and not complain.
MaMa Lou's transformation started with a simple act of appreciation. What started as an awareness and a thank you made MaMa Lou's life much better- and thanks to the end of her complaining, my friend's life too!