Gratitude is better than Attitude
Updated: Mar 5, 2020
Whew! What a week it has been and it is only Tuesday. These winter weeks feel so long. The short days, the cold weather, and winter obstacles are starting to get to me a teeny bit. I’m trying to remember to embrace the season. To remember that the Lord gives us seasons because we need them. The winter is necessary to prepare our hearts for the spring. Winter requires us to slow down, to be still, to rest, and to breathe. It is a season of refueling so that when spring finally shows its face, we are ready for action. The winter is a season of growing and learning and preparing so that we can bring new life, new purpose, new mission, and new joy into the season of spring. I’m trying to remind myself of this….FYI-I’m not always successful. I like to think it’s the effort that makes the Lord smile. :)
Last week I was struggling with winter weather and being in a long distance relationship. Ice and traveling don’t mix well. Hence, my January has brought me a lot more distance than I would willingly choose.
Distance: The extent or amount of space between two things; the state or fact of being apart in space-as of one thing from another; REMOTENESS.
This…distance and remoteness, is how my relationship would be defined. I am in place A and Ian is in place B. Place A and B are approximately 4 hours apart by car. Our relationship by technical standards is clearly classified as a long distance relationship, however, by my personal standards it is clearly classified as anything but distance.
You see, Ian and I may be physically apart a lot and I do feel the burden of that. I feel the ache, the yearning, and the pain of separation when we have to say goodbye to each other. I feel the frustration of wanting to have dinner together, talk, and be hugged after a long day of work but not being able to. I feel all the feels of being in a long distance relationship, however, my soul feels close to his whether we are near or far. We may be physically remote from one another but we have never ever been spiritually, mentally, or emotionally remote. Praise God because it makes physical distance a little more bearable.
I will say though we do a pretty dang good job of making sure we see each other in person too which hasn’t made it feel like a distance relationship…until the winter. Until the winter weather obstacles prevented us from traveling. This month, I was able to experience the disappointment of wanting so badly to see each other and knowing there was no way it was possible. Heartbreaking to say the least.
I get sad a lot. Like I said, I do feel the ache and the pain of being apart from someone you love. Everyone always tells me, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder.” True statement, but sometimes just really hard to hear in the midst of the yearn. January was hard because I would say good bye and not know when the next time I would see Ian would be. The unknown made the goodbyes a million times harder. I cried a lot this month. Ian sent me this link and it is AMAZING!! I highly recommend checking it out:
We were struck by this quote in particular:
“Sorrow! It does find us. But in the midst of it, there are some gifts in strange packages. Simply to learn these simple truths can be a gift: that tears are the soul’s way to exhale, that we ought to reach out and stay in communion with others who can help us, that meditating on eternal truth is important, and that proper soothing care of ourselves has it’s place.”
This quote felt very relevant amidst the sorrow we have been feeling with having to always say goodbye. It truly does help to cry, talk it out with loved ones, acknowledge the truth, and do what your body needs for rest and care. I cry it out…it’s how I handle it. Ian naps…I tease him.
Needless to say, the other weekend I thought the weather was going to prevent us once again from seeing one another. I was straight up grumpy and frustrated. I wanted to throw a temper tantrum to God about how unfair this all was (I guess I shouldn’t say I wanted to…I kind of was). My sister was trying to help. Her texts were as follows:
Michelle, that’s a negative attitude and not accepting God’s will for you.
It stinks but sometimes He gives us what we need and we need to accept it joyfully.
You have free will to choose to be happy or to choose to be unhappy.
No one said you can’t be sad. You can say you’re unhappy with His will but you will trust that it’s for your best interest.
My sister is going to be a saint ya’ll. She’s incredible and I’m so lucky to have her to help me along the journey towards heaven. She certainly was challenging me to grow in holiness when I felt anything but.
I tried to be positive. I tried really hard. I tried so hard that I started making a list of what I was grateful for about our physical distance to try and help me remember that there is good through the difficult season. The list is as follows:
1. Technology. We have the ability to talk to one another everyday.
2. I get to hear the sound of his voice tonight.
3. I get to hear him laugh tonight.
4. I get to hear him say the words ‘I love you’
5. We have had the ability to have countless quality conversations-I’m talking like 3 hour plus convos about anything and everything in the world. I have been able to hear his heart and we have come to know one another, our truest selves. What a gift it is to be known. Check out the song Truly Known by Leah Nobel 😊 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVcRIrEriYw
6. I get to hear him tell me goodnight and sweet dreams.
7. We have built an incredible bond of trust.
8. The plans and countdowns always leave me with something to look forward to and the knowledge that we are one day closer to together.
9. The growth I have experienced in virtue, I mean heeellllooooo patience. I laugh because I used to pray for patience a lot. I guess I should have known that 1. God always answers prayers and 2. He doesn’t just give us something, He gives us the opportunities necessary so we can grow in the virtue. Thank you Jesus for this opportunity.
10. I have an ever deeper reliance on God for strength.
11. I have learned to appreciate the little things and to appreciate the value of a single moment. I never take time for granted with him and I’m learning to apply this to my other relationships as well. I try to remind myself that someday I will miss this even though it doesn’t seem like it now. I’m trying to enjoy the journey as his dad always likes to tell us.
12. I know I am loved for me-just me. I’m not loved for what I do, just because I am. 13. We have had so many incredible experiences and create new memories together whenever possible-distance or not.
14. He is safe by not traveling and I can rest in the assurance that because of that fact, I will see him soon.
By choosing to be grateful I was able to shift my mind to a more positive place. I was able to see all the good and the blessings the Lord has given us during this season. I was able to find joy in the little gifts.
For the record though, he did end up coming to see me. It was literally THE BEST! The weather held out until right after he got to me, in place A. Jesus is so so good. Ian is so so good. Both my main men, Jesus and Ian, knew exactly what my heart was needing and made it happen. Ah, to be truly known.
For all you ladies out there, let me just tell you….wait for the man who will travel any distance in whatever circumstances, just to make sure your heart is okay. Wait for the man who will knock your socks off and light up your life by his love. It’s worth the wait. I promise 😊