day 29: the practice of thankfulness

Or the post where I channel Ann Voskamp.

We bought a new-to-us dining table in May. It is perfect, old, wooden and rustic, smaller than the one we have and not too high. Best of all, we’ll be able to attach a baby seat to it, so that small one can sit with us at the table and not at a separate high chair. But we haven’t been able to use the table because it has taken this long (and counting) to sell our old dining table.

For the past almost-six months, I swung from content to angry to frustrated to just-deal-with-it to content to angry to frustrated to why-is-this-happening-to-me and on and on it went. The list of reasons of why I was allowed to be unhappy was long. Compared to other people’s beautiful dining rooms – and Pinterest’s! – ours was bizarre with two large tables.

What do we do in these situations when what we want isn’t happening? When we compare ourselves to others and we lose? How do we get out of this?

Be thankful. Write down the reasons to be thankful. In everything there is always something for which we can say, Thank you. 

This dining table holds a crucial part of Husband and my story. He fed me at this table for the first time in February 2009, plates and wine glasses sitting on the IKEA table runners, both of us thinking we would never see each other again. We sat at this table again as each other’s fiancee. It was our table as a married couple. Husband cooked our first meal together as man and wife at this table. Baked fish with a tomato and basil salsa on the bachelor IKEA plates.

We ate most of our meals here before Small One was born. This table held our tears, laughter, stony silences, encouraging words, difficult conversations and impassioned discussions. We welcomed many visitors around it, all of us gathering, eating simple food, opening our lives, sharing.

The truth is that my heart hurts when I think about letting go of this table because it represents a treasured time of life.

Small One also loves this table. The glass table top sits on two thick wooden pillars, which make for fabulous hiding places for him. He has a little obstacle course between the chairs and pillars, and we have both mastered our hide-and-seek game around this table. No other part of our apartment captivates him in this way. We jump out from behind chairs and scream at each other, he doubles over in laughter. He runs between the pillars, waits, peeks out from one side then the other to see if he can spot me. It is hands down one of my favourite things to do with him during the day, and when this table is sold, it will be gone, the moment finished. 

This is what I need to think about to keep my attitude in check. When I focus on my goal – a “decorated” dining room, all the patience with my now and all the joy I could have in my now are sucked out of me by frustration. But in the very thing that brings me frustration, there are also many things that bring me pure, unadulterated joy. There is always something for which I can be thankful. 

What situations in your life are bringing frustration, anger and disappointment to your life today?What can you find in each situation that you can be thankful for? Write it down, let your mind dwell on it and see your attitude transformed. 

I’m writing daily in October as part of The Nester’s 31 Days challenge, check out my posts here, and head over to the Nesting Place for other great 31 Days topics.

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