Monday, May 13, 2013

aphids of complaining, petunias of thanksgiving

I have two potted petunias hanging outside my front door.

One is thriving, one is dying.  


White blooms burst from the healthy one, while the sickly one can barely hold up its limbs.  What is making the difference?

Tiny aphids are draining the life from one of my plants.  

All the energy that should be bursting into beautiful bloom is being sucked away by these minuscule pests.  

I couldn’t help but see the parable: 

I have days like each of these plants.  

My full-of-life blooming days are characterized by flowers of thanksgiving.  

My depressed, grumpy, everything-seems-so-hard days are usually caused by aphids of discontentment.  

The trouble is, the more I complain the worse I feel!  

I’m realizing that every complaint is like one of those little tiny pests.  They don’t seem very important one by one, but taken all together, they will eat you alive.  

In contrast, the more I thank, the more I bloom.

Every time I breathe quiet thanks - for cheese, for a knife to cut it with, for hot running water in my tap, for a mug of tea, for a working toilet - it doesn’t seem very significant.  Mundane, really.  How could this possibly be making any difference?

But guess what?  I’m happier.  Really.  I. am. happier.  I’m less grumpy, less petty than I was a year ago (I hope).  Replacing complaining with thanking is actually changing me.  Whether my hours are rolling out neatly or full of interruptions, whether I’m feeling tired or rested, giving thanks is gradually changing my perspective, my heart-space, the flavor of my days.  

I am quietly starting to bloom.  

What are your “aphids” today?  What things are you tempted to complain about?  Could you give thanks for those very things, and watch your day change from feeling sucked dry to bursting into bloom?  


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