Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Ain't No Need To Grumble"

I can hear Liz today.
She was this wonderful, large, African American woman that I met years
ago when I took my first job with Piedmont Agency on Aging.

When she would come into the Senior Center, I would say
"...how are you, Liz?"
and a huge broad smile would spread across her face and she
would respond "...I'm good...ain't no need to grumble...."

And she didn't grumble.
Liz never married, but raised many of her sister's children.
She was in her late 70's when I met her.   That was over 25 years ago.  
Liz was poor by most standards,
but very rich in her appreciation for life.
Liz loved life.     And, she had a great laugh!   A GREAT laugh.

A big woman, Liz struggled physically to get around.
She's shuffle her feet across the floor and once she found a seat,
she often stayed put until it was time to go home.
That woman had a great spirit about her - and I loved to be with her.

What a great thing to say about somebody.   I loved to be with her!

I've been thinking about Liz today since I read this morning's devotion from Sarah
Young's book, "Calling Jesus"   October 9.

"You have been on a long, uphill journey, and your energy is almost spent. 
Though you have faltered at times, you have not let go of My hand.
I am pleased with your desire to stay close to Me.  There is one thing,
however, that displeases Me; your tendency to complain.  You may talk
to Me as much as you like about the difficulty of the path we are following.
I understand better than anyone else the stresses and strains that have afflicted
you.  You can ventilate safely to Me, because talking with Me tempers your
thoughts and helps you see things from My perspective.

Complaining to others is another matter altogether.  It opens the door to 
deadly sin such as self-pity and rage.  Whenever you are tempted to grumble,
come to Me and talk it out. As you open up to Me, I will put My thoughts in
your mind and My song in your heart."

Liz understood this view on grumbling and complaining.  

I wish I could say that I always vent on Jesus first.     Yeah.   That's not my usual
practice.     I get upset about something.   Some injustice that was done to me.
Some unfair criticism that was made of me.   Someone hurt my feelings.  Or maybe
somebody just did something that caused me trouble or anxiety.  And what
happens?    Well, some people may keep things in.   Me?  Ahh, no.
It's got to come out!    I've got to vent!

My usual target for venting is my husband.    Unfortunate, but many times true.
He's such a great listener!  And, he almost always takes my side.  (Smile)
Isn't that bad?   To inflict that on such a good friend?

We all turn to someone to vent.   True?

I'll never forget.  Years ago, Kate was a freshman at Clemson and also on the
Women's Rowing Team.    It was HARD.   In addition to her classes, she
trained many mornings on Lake Hartwell before the sun came up -- and then
again in the afternoon when classes were done.  She was pushed
to the point of exhaustion on a daily basis.  She and I  laugh about it now, but who
would she call when it got really overwhelming?

Her mama, that's who!

She would call me in tears and vent away.   Funny thing, though.   She would pour out
her heart and frustrations to me -- and after 10-15 minutes, she felt 100% better.  
Me?    I'd say, "I'm so glad you feel better" - and then I'd hang up and take all morning
to get over the conversation because I carried what I heard at least until lunch time.

That's the thing about venting.    Grumbling or complaining.     The person who hears
it may have to "wear" it for a while after we're through getting it off our chest.    It's not
always easy to brush it off and walk away from it.

I visualize venting like this big over-sized, wet,  wool coat with ugly plaid lining.    Once
it's put on someone, it sometimes hang on them with weight and burden.   Not a good

I'm trying to grow in this area.

Recently, i've actually left the office.    Got in my car.      Started driving and started talking
--- out loud to Jesus.   Venting on Jesus in my car as I drive home.  You should try this!  
It's very effective!  He's always ready to listen.     I can say what I need to say to Him.  
I can get it all out.   And when I'm done.   He's good.   He don't wear it for several hours.
He's not burdened by it.    Such a good solution for me!     Yeah, the only draw back to
car venting is the people that may see  you on the road, but what the heck!   When
you get to be my age, you care less and less what people think!

"whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me to talk it out..."

I'm telling you.     There's something to this!     My husband would be so relieved if I
did it more.

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