Special to 0-A News
from Walter Albritton, Trinity UMC Senor Pastor
for Sunday, August 15, 1999


Good advice: Stop complaining and count your blessings

A good friend and I were having lunch in a little German cafe when the completely unexpected happened. I don't remember what we ate that day but I will never forget his shocking rebuff.

He had listened patiently while I rehearsed once again my story of having been treated unfairly by some of my "Christian" friends. He had heard all the gory details from me before, more than once. I had been hurt and I wanted sympathy from my friends, even though the hurtful event had been history for two or three years.

My friend interrupted me and remarked bluntly, "Walter, don't you think it is time you stopped talking about all that garbage and get on with your life?" The silence was as stunning as the look on my face. Staring into his eyes, I was surprised at my own reaction. I felt no anger at his candor. Instead I realized that he had said exactly what I needed to hear. The time had come when I needed to stop blabbering about the past and move on. I broke the silence finally, admitting soberly, "You are right. I need to stop complaining about all that mess, and I will stop right now." I thanked him for speaking the truth in love to me. It was a reality check which I sorely needed. And I did stop bellyaching about that hurtful experience. I even found it fun to realize that I could control my tongue and resist the temptation to bring up all that stuff again.

It was a good lesson for me. It helped me to realize that I am in charge of the garbage of my past. I can choose to retrieve it and stir in it again and again, or I can let it go. Letting it go frees me to enjoy the present and anticipate a bright tomorrow.

I love it when I say to a friend, "How are you doing?" and he replies, "I can't complain."
Can't complain? Of course he could complain. But he chooses not to complain!
In these days observe how people love to gripe. Nine out of ten people, whether strangers or friends, will grumble about how hot it is, about the drought, about how long it has been since we had a good rain.
Yes, it is hot. Yes, we need rain. But remember, it could be worse. And no amount of complaining will cause it to rain or to cool off. When we feel compelled to squawk about our problems, we can give ourselves a reality check. We can stop complaining and start counting our blessings.
Is it costing a lot to cool your home this month? Instead of whining about that big AC bill, take a look at your gas bill and rejoice. My gas bill will be very low until we get some cold weather.
Think also about all those families in Kosovo who don't even have a home or milk for their babies. Our plight could be worse, far worse. Heat, after all, is a seasonal thing. Stick around -- it will get cold again before long. And that is not something you can say about a certain place where the fire will burn forever!

So we do well to heed this good advice: Stop complaining and count your blessings!
Only then will we become fun to live with!