One of the sisters over at GrowMama wrote a post a couple weeks ago that got me to thinking about gratitude. And how easy it is for a person, myself in particular, to become ungrateful. To get so caught up in the negative, or hardships, or dislikes and discomforts in life, that I fail to recognize the innumerable blessings that Allaah has bestowed upon me.
The post actually came right on time for me. As I mentioned in my comment on the post, I had walked into the kitchen earlier that day to prepare lunch for the kids. There were no clean plates, as the sink was filled up with breakfast and the previous night’s dinner dishes. The counter was a mess from kids constantly pouring and spilling drinks…and using a different cup every time! The sight reminded me that the dining table still needed to be wiped from breakfast, and the floor needed a quick sweeping.
My mind instantly went to the toys, books, markers, crayons, dress up clothes and other mess strewn about the house. I could feel the pressure of being overwhelmed start to build up inside me. The words, “I *HATE* summer” came to mind, and actually almost rolled off my tongue.
What I was feeling, was that I hated that my house was a chaotic mess! I can’t stand to see stuff strewn about all over the house all day long; I can’t stand feeling like I’m in the kitchen all day long (between washing dishes several times a day, plus preparing 3 meals and 3 snacks); I can’t stand the bickering and constant tattle-telling on one another; I can’t stand not being able to accomplish “my” things; I can’t stand having to take them to class with me every week…and the list goes on. Such a contrast to the quiet, relaxing days I used to spend when the kids were in school.
So yeah, those awful words almost came out. But I stopped myself, alhamdu lillaah. Sought refuge in Allaah from shayton. Took a few deep breaths. Thought a minute about what my feelings indicated.
And I concluded that I was in fact being ungrateful to Allaah. A messy house, dirty dishes and a little bit more noise during the day is a small price to pay for having these wonderful little beings in my life. Sure, it can get hard some days, but what would my life be without my children? Nothing!
I think about the time before I was married, and how I used to ask Allaah to bless me with a husband and children, never really understanding what my own child would bring to my life of joy and happiness. How it felt to love someone with all your heart, no matter they did. How it felt for someone to love you with all their heart, no matter what you did. My children. My precious children. When I think about this type of love, it truly amazes me.
Shame on me for even thinking to utter such ungrateful words. There are people in the world who spend time, money and exert all their efforts into trying to conceive just one child. Trying to fill that spot in their hearts that Allaah created for a child. How could I deny such a blessing? No, NO! I would not trade my children for clean dishes, a tidy home and quiet relaxation. NO! Not in a million years.
It’s amazing that when I started to think differently, things got easier. We developed – and have managed to stick to – a daily routine, which includes Qur’an first and foremost, as well as other engaging, entertaining and educational (the 3 E’s) activities. I let them help out with small chores around the house too, number one to teach them responsibility, and number two because I need help! A result of being organized is that I have more time to get the things done I need to get done, like studying for exams, blogging, etc. So things are not as bad as I felt they were that day, alhamdu lillaah.
And that’s the beauty of gratitude. Allaah says in Qur’an:
“If you give thanks, I will give you more (of My Blessings),” (Qur’an, Ibrahim:7)
When we redirect our focus from the negative to the positive, and work hard to appreciate the things Allaah has given us, He will give us more. And more could be Allaah removing a negative, or increasing a positive. Either case is a blessing from Allaah.
I pray to Allaah to always help me to be grateful for things, no matter how hard life may seem at times, ameen. I pray this for myself and for all of you.