Gratitude in Trials: My 5-Hour Trip to Costco
A few weeks ago, I was making a quick trip the grocery store. At least as quick a trip as we can make now that we are 40 minutes away from the closest Costco. I was loading my groceries into my van when I noticed that one of my tires looked a low. I hadn’t noticed any problems while I was driving. I also hadn’t noticed that it looked low when I went in the store. (To be honest, I don’t notice those kinds of things in general.)
I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t really sure what the tire was supposed to look like in the first place. I tried to compare it to my other tires. I decided maybe I would try to make the trip home and hope for the best. But on my way out of the parking lot a very nice man pulled up next to me, rolled down his window, and said, “Your tire is losing air, you need to go get it fixed.”
I drove to the closest tire center but they couldn’t fix the tire because I hadn’t bought my tires from them. They did fill it up with air and send me on my way to the store where I had bought the tires. Once there, it was another hour wait for them to just look at the car. So I waited. I really didn’t have a choice because it wasn’t safe for me to drive home.
With my rotisserie chicken going bad in the car, I silently fumed. Luckily I had my DVD player for my four-year-old to watch while I sat and wrote down ideas for future blog posts. It took them far longer than an hour to look at the car.
I was frustrated. I’d hoped this trip wouldn’t take too long because I had a lot of work to do at home. But there was nothing I could do. It took three hours for the tire to get fixed. By the time I got home, my quick trip to the store had taken me five hours.
Amidst the Frustration
My frustration made me want to throw my phone. I may not have been as polite to the man at the tire store as I should’ve been. I’m pretty sure the words, “Do whatever you need to do so that I can go home,” came out of my mouth.
However, amidst my frustration, a very calm thought came to me when the man pulled up next to me to tell me the tire was going flat. The thought that this was one of those times that I should put my frustration aside and be grateful, kept ringing in my mind.
Grateful that I had noticed the tire in the first place so that when the man told me my tire was going flat, I believed him. Grateful that my tire was filled with enough air that I could make it to the tire store. Grateful that it could be fixed.
Grateful that I hadn’t been driving on the interstate going 65 miles an hour when my tire blew.
Gratitude is a Changing Force
Even though I had the thought about gratitude, my frustration was still there. It took an hour or two at the tire store for the frustration to subside enough for gratitude to start to take over.
I recently wrote a review for a book about gratitude and it has had me thinking about gratitude for the last couple of weeks. Gratitude can be the foundation for many other admirable character traits including patience, trust, confidence, and many other valuable characteristics that help us become better parents and people.
As I sat silently fuming about my tire, I felt a little ashamed that my immediate response was anger rather than gratitude. By the time I knelt down to say my evening prayers, my frustration had subsided and I realized how grateful I really was. I had been watched over that day. Even though it was inconvenient at the time, a potential disaster had been avoided.
More Gratitude, More Appreciation
While my tire example is small, should it really take avoiding a disaster to remind us to be grateful? No. No matter our circumstances, we can always find something to be grateful for. I’m currently working on a project with a woman who has truly been able to find gratitude despite living through incredible challenges. She is grateful for every moment that she has on this earth.
When life is hard, it can feel impossible to find something to be grateful for. But even if all we can do is be grateful for the hope that things will get better, gratitude can change our hearts. It can bring peace, solace, and happiness to an otherwise troubled soul.
After reviewing the book on gratitude, I’ve tried to tell my children thank you more often. I thank them when they complete their chores, or help their siblings, or do something kind. I hope that if I set a good example they can develop grateful hearts that will see them through their own trials.