I Got Told Off

Setting the scene… My husband is a great tutor of maths and the sciences. Not only was it very beneficial homeschooling our darlings, but it has also provided us with some extra income along the way. While living in the Sunshine Coast in Australia, he had one particular student who was very bright and was also keen to learn. Blessed with parents who were able to support this desire, many sessions ensued and in time friendships sprang up between some of our kids.

The lessons took place at the student’s grandparent’s home for convenience. And just as conveniently, Grandma & Grandad had a big pool out back. When the summer temps started getting higher Grandad kindly offered a swim to all of our kids whilst Dad was tutoring. Many happy summer hours were spent splashing and cooling off there. We appreciated his generosity. At least I thought I did…

One day out of the blue, Grandad asks me if I like coming there.

“Of course, we do. Why do you ask?”

“You’ve not said ‘Thank you'”

I was flabbergasted. “We haven’t? Have we really not said ‘Thank you’ at all”?

“Oh, you have said it,” Grandad replied, “but it hasn’t been very grateful.”

Excuse me, what?! I had NO idea what he was trying to say. For sure, I was being told off, but I did not understand what I had done wrong. I do remember apologising and being EVER so ‘grateful’ when it was time to leave.

To say I was perplexed was an understatement and somehow the fun and excitement of a swim there lost it’s lustre pretty quickly… like immediately. Although I didn’t understand what he was getting at, I made the best attempt I could to show my gratitude. I bought them a gift and dropped round to the house unexpectedly one day and told the kids to take it in while I played chicken in the van. {Sorry kids if you’re reading this} Not knowing what else to do I tucked it away in the recesses of my heart and hoped that one day I would be able to comprehend it.

That day was coming.

We moved unexpectedly soon after to the other end of the state. The boxes were unpacked and life got back into a rhythm. Sometime in that process … I can’t remember exactly when… an idea came to me. I think it was God telling me the direction I should go, cause, trust me, it wasn’t in my normal thoughts at all.

“Draw something every day that you are grateful for.”

I mulled it round for a couple of weeks as it seemed a bit odd to me really. First off, what was I grateful for enough to draw it? To spend that time and effort on? Secondly, my drawing skills were ok but not that good. Thirdly, what if I had a down day, a real Eeyore day? What if there was nothing to draw? Fourthly, I wasn’t very good at long term things. What if I forgot? Fifthly,… you get the gist that I had a long list of reasons why not to do this.

Have learnt, though, that if He says something, you should pay attention. And so I began to draw.

I drew for a whole year. Some days, I missed and had to catch up. Some days, I REALLY struggled to see enough positive in the world. The drawings started as little things that I liked. Slowly I began to notice a shift and found myself having a broader concept of the good in my world. Nothing of particular note may have happened in my day but it was good that I had a loving husband and 5 wonderful kids. I could draw them. The every day concentrating on the ‘good thing’, the thinking about how to convey it on paper, the looking back and seeing the collection grow, remembering, all these things worked together to begin a major shift in my head and in my heart.

And then I had my ‘ah ha’ moment. The conversation with Grandad came flooding back and I realised what he was seeing. My parents taught me to say ‘please’ and ‘ thank you’, and I did. But despite the words coming out of my mouth, my heart had not had a revelation of how blessed I am. I was not grateful. Grandad had told me off, and, given time and following the instructions of Him who knows all things, including the inner workings of me, I finally got it.

As a final note to this little story, I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to Grandad for being gutsy and forthright enough to tell me what he thought even though we were only casual acquaintances. That little incident had a profound effect for which I am very grateful… though probably not grateful enough to wish for the opinion of EVERY Grandad I meet. Just saying…

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