It’s so easy to complain. That’s what I was thinking during the forty-five minutes I spent cutting hair that had wound itself around the brushes and rollers of my vacuum cleaner making it overheat and smell the way my hair dryer does when I get hair caught in the fan end. By the time I was finished, I had a giant hairball the size of my head in the laundry room trashcan. How gross! Poor me! Then I reminded myself how fortunate I am to have a vacuum cleaner at all or carpet or even such a surplus of hair! (Confession: Most of that hairball was mine. I have a lot of very long hair.)
If I board the Complain Train this easily then I am spoiled. I think most anyone who is reading this post can relate, at least to a certain extent. (If you’re reading this I’m assuming you have access to the Internet and the ability to read thereby defining you as wealthy by most of the world’s standards. Prepare to feel abashed.) It’s ridiculous the things that make me mad or give me the “right” (I tried to do quote fingers while I typed that but it didn’t work) to complain. So I started a list of ways that we are spoiled:
-When I unwrapped a cough drop the other day, the wrapper was printed with an encouraging message: “You can beat this!” It’s a cold not cancer. Am I really so weak that I need to hear from my cough drop that I’m going to make it through this nasal congestion?
-I hear commercials all the time for “Sedation Dentistry.” I find this hilarious. I hate getting plaque scraped off my teeth as much as anyone else but I don’t have to be knocked out to survive the experience. I just clench my buttocks cheeks together and bear it. That way I get a teeth cleaning and workout my glutes at the same time!
-When we go to a restaurant and the hostess gives us one of those light-up coasters and says that it’ll be thirty minutes before we’ll be seated, I internally go ballistic. It doesn’t show outwardly but I’m thinking, “Why doesn’t this place have call-ahead seating? I should be able to walk into any dining establishment, pass the suckers sitting on faux leather benches, and instantly get a table for five because I called ahead and said, ‘Save me a table! I am coming! You live to serve me!’” Why should we get seated before people who drove in their cars and physically walked into the restaurant before us just because we had the forethought to make a phone call?
-Remember when you scheduled your evening around television shows? You knew that if you missed The Cosby Show on Thursday night everyone would be talking about it at school on Friday and it would ruin your day to be left out of the conversation. I’m not suggesting that we miss out on non-TV related events because we don’t want to miss our shows, but now we have a million ways to watch those shows later. My kids can’t understand why the television at the beach doesn’t have a list of pre-recorded episodes of their favorite shows just waiting for them to watch. And they don’t get it when they can’t pause the show to go to the bathroom. “How did you live like this?” they ask me.
-I like to text. It’s a handy way to relay information without causing a big disruption to someone’s day. I am, however, afraid that texting has made us sloppy and lazy. It’s a lot easier to be misunderstood (IF YOU TYPE IN ALL CAPS I THINK YOU’RE YELLING AT ME) and disingenuous. I also have a problem with some of the texting abbreviations. (Ironically, “abbreviations” is a really long word.) I think it should be a rule that if you type LOL, you should actually laugh out loud. I picture someone sitting in the school carline, typing it on someone’s Facebook page without even cracking a smile. “LOL. Your cat looks awesome in that Darth Vader costume.” I would hold off on being literal with LMAO. Let’s not get carried away.
-When my kids struggle in school or don’t make the team I find myself wishing things were easier. Why is simplifying fractions not very simple for her? Why should he/she have this heartache or failure or setback? The truth is that if they didn’t encounter some bumps in the road every so often, they’d be spoiled rotten. They need to do things they don’t want to and be prevented from doing things they do want to. If I hired Rosie the Robot from the Jetson family to do all their chores, they’d fill up their time with activities not in service of their family.
It’s good for things to be difficult sometimes. Difficulties are necessary for us not to be spoiled. It’s okay to be inconvenienced by others and it’s okay to have to slow down. If I look at serving others as an honor instead of a chore then that giant hairball is a gift, so is doing the laundry, teaching a Bible class to toddlers, and being a room mom. I don’t want to waste anymore time being spoiled.