“I’m too old for this,” Maude grumbled softly as she struggled to push herself to an upright position. She had left the remote on the counter top, and her three-year-old great-granddaughter, Ellie, had been whining, “Grammie, change the channel to Disney,” as she hopped and twirled and danced around the room.
“Wished I had your energy, Ellie,” Maude said with just a hint of sarcasm.
The little girl twirled again before wrapping her arms around Maude’s legs. “I love you, Grammie,” she said, her tiny face beaming.
Maude’s heart swelled with joy, realizing how blessed she was to have a loving family.
As the drone of cartoon characters filled the room, Maude sighed, allowing her eyes to drift before stopping on the portrait of her and her late husband, John. Tears sprang to her eyes, sorrow descending like a smothering blanket. Every morning as her hand automatically reached to John’s side of the bed, she felt the loss and loneliness anew, asking God why He had taken her John.
“Fifty two years we were married,” she whispered, her eyes caressing his image in the portrait. “Fifty two years,” she whispered again, feeling gratitude for every one of those years. What a blessing to have spent those years with her best friend. “Thank you, God,” she said.
After she fed Ellie her lunch, and put her down for a nap, Maude settled into her recliner, allowing her eyes to grow heavy. Just as she succumbed to slumber, her phone rang. “Drats,” she muttered as she fumbled on the end table until her fingers grasped her cell phone. She still wasn’t used to this tiny phone her children had insisted she needed, resenting the time it took to learn all the features on it.
She felt irritation as she saw the name of her fifty-year-old son displayed on the screen. She loved Kendall, but he had struggled most of his life with alcoholism, managing to go months and years surrendered to the Lord before falling back into alcohol’s diabolical clutches. Over the years, most of the family’s patience had worn thin where Kendall was concerned. When he was drinking, as he currently was, he was rude and demanding.
Kendall’s words were slurred, but he only asked that Maude pray for him. “Someday I want to be free completely, Mom, and I can’t do it without help. I know that.”
Maude prayed with her son, feeling her irritation dissolve as gratitude filled her that at least Kendall was still alive and able to call for prayer. There were a few times when he should’ve died, but God had spared him.
When her grandson, Jacob, arrived to pick up Ellie, he wrapped his arms around her in a bear hug. “Thanks for watching Ellie on such short notice, Grams. The interview went great and I got the job. I’m so thankful for all your prayers. Being unemployed has taken its toll.”
That evening as she rummaged through the refrigerator and cupboards for something for supper, she murmured in complaint at her lack of choices. “Sure would be nice to have a full refrigerator and pantry, Lord,” she said out loud, the sound echoing off the walls.
Saying a blessing over the can of soup she opened, she settled down to enjoy her favorite Christian programming on television. She watched as a camera panned over children in a third world country as they waited in a line for a bowl of rice served by a medical missionary team. The camera then zeroed in on a man who had sorrow in his eyes and a voiced laced with exhaustion. “Most of these children,” he said, his hand waving in the direction of the line, “haven’t had anything to eat since yesterday. Tomorrow we will be seeing all of these children and many more at the clinic as we administer whatever treatment we can. Please pray for us, and consider a donation of any amount to help. Most people in America take for granted all the blessings these people will never know.”
“I am blessed,” Maude acknowledged with tears in her eyes. “So very blessed. Forgive me, Lord, for the times I murmur and complain, and remind me of all the good things in my life.”
“It’s all in our perspective,” she told her friend, Millie, the next morning over a cup of tea. “We’re old and crotchety sometimes, eh, my friend? Let’s not gripe and complain anymore, but have a heart of gratitude.”
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