Do You Ignore Your Blessings?
ARE you one who thinks the world is drab, without surprises or meaning, and that you would be better off dead than alive? Maybe it is not the world but you who are at fault. It is amazing what a wonderful difference an improved outlook can make in that which one beholds!
For example, one gloomy day a housewife glanced out of her kitchen window. The sky appeared gray, the view dull and uninspiring. She turned to her work hoping that the world outside would soon brighten up. Just then a window cleaner came along. Soon he was put to work on her kitchen windows washing off the accumulation of dust and smoke. When the housewife turned to look out of her now-washed windows, to her amazement things appeared less dismal. There were the bright colors of the flowers, the soft green grass, the children playing, the trees and the hills in the distance—all these brought her a keener appreciation of the beauty that surrounded her. She realized that nothing about the outside world had changed. She merely had her windows cleaned and was better able to discern the beauty that had been present all the time.
Perhaps we all need mental window washing from time to time, in order that we may behold less of the drabness of things about us and more of the blessings that are ours to enjoy.
“I never go anywhere,” complained a housewife. “I never see anything. I’m stuck away in this apartment and this is where I stay put.” Her complaint sounds legitimate enough, but is it worth allowing one’s attitude to sour? Having a place to live is a rare blessing in itself. Many people in the world would give much for an apartment to live in. The privilege to see things is also a rare blessing. Put yourself in Ernest Ek’s position. For forty-eight years he saw nothing but dark, vague shadows in the daytime and nothing but blackness at night. He was blind. Yet he lived in hope and found life worth living. One day Ek underwent an operation. His sight was restored. To him words now fail to describe what a blessing sight is! Perhaps being tucked away in an apartment may not be the best life, but maybe with a little mental window washing you can learn to appreciate the blessings inside the home, such as your children, your furniture, a good book, the Bible. There are many things inside that can add beauty to life.
Are you handicapped in any way or bedridden? Your misfortune can become a terrible strain if you allow it to becloud your mental windows and not permit other blessings to shine through. Simply because you are not completely sound of body, must life come to a halt? Nonsense! There are thousands of people like you who are leading active, happy lives. The thing to do is to keep the windows of your mind clear so that you can see out to enjoy the other beauties that life holds forth for you. Use whatever sound members you have in a way that will help others, and soon you will see that it is this fact that makes life worth living. The things we do just to satisfy our own personal desires seem to lose their flavor quickly, but there is a deeper and more lasting satisfaction in meeting the needs of others. Christian shut-ins often find rich enjoyment in writing letters or using the telephone to tell others of their hope in life based on the Bible. It is giving to others that keeps our interest in life alive and makes us look forward to tomorrow. The secret of happiness is in giving. Do not ignore this blessing.—Acts 20:35.
You may have a husband that is an alcoholic or a wife that throws away your hard-earned money in bingo games. Neither of these conditions makes for happy living. But what sense is there in permitting such things to fog the windows of your mind with bitter hate and disgust for life? A drunken husband may not be a pleasure to have around the house, but other things may be. Center your mind on your children, on beautifying and redecorating the interior of your home, on becoming a skilled cook or seamstress, and you will be surprised how much brighter life becomes even with life’s problems.
Are you out of work, or do you have two jobs and no time for yourself? Both situations leave men miserable.
Being without work certainly is not pleasant, but all is not lost. Look for the bright side; there usually is one. Your being out of work may give you more time to be with the family, to catch up on some much-needed study and repair work at home. Men who have been unemployed for a long time often allow themselves to become bitter, so bitter in fact that when they do apply for jobs their very cranky dispositions prevent them from qualifying. Guard against a sour disposition by being aware of your blessings.
People who wish they had a little time for themselves are often too busy making money. Materialism has them in a whirl. They are disgruntled because they concentrate on what they do not have instead of appreciating the things they do have. Here is a little bit of sound, inspired advice that can bring them happiness if they but listen to it: “Let your manner of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things.” “To be sure, it is a means of great gain, this godly devotion along with self-sufficiency.” (Heb. 13:5; 1 Tim. 6:6) The secret, then, is to cultivate an appreciation for the things you do have and delight in them instead of always reaching out for something new and different. Be less wanting, less ambitious, less complaining and the windows of your mind will be open to become more appreciative of the blessings around you.
It is generally those who look for beauty that find it, those who listen for truth that hear it and enjoy its freedom-giving power, those who love that are loved in turn, those who cherish life who enjoy it. Keep the windows of your mind clean to appreciate this fact: “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” Let God’s blessings never escape your notice, for they are what make life worth while.—Prov. 10:22.