I have been wanting to write a book for more than 8 years now. I started when I moved to Amsterdam in 2008 and I am still “writing”. I think I should, because I honestly think there is so much wisdom I could share with the world. (Some of my friends actually told me I should write a book because I am so funny and witty and wise. I have great friends).
But then life gets in the way. And basically what that means is that I get lazy and can’t get my stuff together and don’t get things done. And usually, it feels good to blame the world, the bad weather, my children, my husband, too loud birds outside, my hormones, and everything and everyone who just happens to be a part of my life. But then, eventually, I corner my lazy self and feel bad for being the way I am and letting another perfectly wonderful day just slip away.
My in-laws, Sean and I just watched this classic movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” and I just can’t feel bad about anything anymore. The truth is – I am so blessed. And I am so grateful for my life. And I think every person in the world should watch this movie regularly. Some people would need to watch it every week, some every other month, and for some, it would be enough to be reminded once a year of how important they are and how the world would be a much darker place without them.
The best thing to do to distract yourself from thinking bad thoughts about (your) life is to think about others.
For example, it is so humbling to be in the hospital in the intensive care for premature babies. Seeing those little bodies breathe and fight for another day of existence, and their parents crying and then trying to control themselves and hope for another day of life with their little treasure. Just one more day. Just another day of watching the tiny creatures grow and fill their lives with hope and meaning and joy and the love that created them.
When you see something like that, a lot of the troubles you are going through seem relatively unimportant and even silly, don’t they?
It’s raining cats and dogs outside. It’s windy and cold. Pretty nasty, really. But I don’t feel sorry for myself. And I am not fantasizing with tears in my eyes about the white beach and sweet breeze as I look out the window.
I am grateful for this day. For the never ending Dutch optimism in the face of the inferior elements. For the nice apartment we are living in, with central heating and electricity. My Moroccan neighbors and the food they make (God, it’s good!). For the lush green grass and bushes wherever I look (It’s January, people!) For the delicious coffee I am savoring with a smile on my face. And the peace and freedom we enjoy in this most densely populated country in Europe.
I am grateful for the life God gave me. My sweet little boys would never have existed if I wasn’t here. My husband would never have been the luckiest man alive. And I would never have written anything and deprive you from smiling a little from time to time.
And for that – I am thankful.
Header photo by Patrick Miyaoka