We were driving home from the swimming pool, sun-kissed kids tired and hungry.
And the littlest one began to cry over an empty cracker box.
She had already cusped a handful of crunchy snacks and filled her tummy with more than enough.
But she wanted more. And she wanted more NOW!
Home was only seven minutes away.
Supper was waiting in the oven. I would scoop her a steamy helping while she was slipping into dry clothes.
I told her so as I reached around the driver’s seat and tickled her toes wrinkled white from our afternoon of prancing through the water.
Her response to my gentle promise was less than gracious.
She threw the cracker box at her brother and promptly filled the van with screeching.
No strangers to toddler tantrums, her siblings groaned and covered their ears. I rolled down the window and let the wind and road noise buffer the squeals.
After a few ear-splitting minutes, Joshua reached across the aisle and grabbed his noisy sister’s hand.
“Maggie,” our preschooler pleaded, “Can’t you just be thankful for what you’ve got instead of fussing about what you don’t?“
Josh tipped the cracker box upside down and watched the last of the dusty crumbs scatter across the dirty floor mat.
Then, in his listen-to-me-cause-i’m bigger-than-you voice, he said, ”It’s your choice, Mags. You can cry about wanting more or just thank Jesus for whatcha got.”
My littlest girl stopped her screeching and turned to look at her brother. Her lip curled into a sly smile and she pulled one more cracker out from under her legs.
“I got one more,” she declared with a giggle.
And her brother whispered, “Thank you, Jesus!”
I drove the rest of the way home in silence and thought about my morning rant, the one in which I’d rehearsed for my husband all of the lack in my life….
The unanswered prayers. The unfinished projects. The unclean carpets. The unattained dreams.
I ached somewhere down deep, and it wasn’t from hunger. Conviction rumbled low like an empty stomach’s plea.
I spied that empty cracker box in the rearview mirror and shook my head in frustration. Why do I live like a collector of crumbs when I’ve been given a handful of hope?
I glanced over my shoulder at my no-longer-screeching-three-year-old and reminded myself of this truth: I don’t have to succumb to ingratitude’s squeal.
I have a choice.
Thanklessness is not an incurable condition. It is a daily decision.
Gratitude or grumbles. Grousing or grace. Moment by moment I can choose.
And perhaps, if I just thank Jesus for what I’ve got, this long ride Home will be a story worth telling!
The Overflow: And cultivate thankfulness.
Thanking Jesus for what I’ve got….
1101. An overcast evening.. all four young ones tucked in bed by 9:15 without complaint.
1102. A homemade spa on our deck- honey and oil face masks, foot rubs, and giggling girls.
1103. The pitter patter of raindrops on the window pane in the quiet of morning.
1104. Lizzy was wearing a helmet when she fell off her ripstick and broke her wrist… protection from greater harm
1105. Doctor Daddy curled up on the couch with Lizzy watching a movie to distract her from the pain- the medicine of empathy and special time together.
1106. Friends who help when things go wrong.
1108. A friend who holds out a hot cup of coffee and a gooey cupcake at the end of a tough day.
1109. My big boy in his dirty baseball uniform- sitting at the bar and telling me the details of the game I missed.
1110. A quiet walk around the lake- time to pray, time to listen.
Linking again with Ann and these lovely grace seekers: l.l. for on, in, and around mondays, laura for playdates with god, ruth at the better mom, and jen for soli deo gloria