A few years ago I read about a church that started a program of not complaining. So, when I felt called to a complaining fast this Lent, I went to A Complaint Free World on the world wide web. People trying to live complaint free wear a purple bracelet (how fitting for Lent, eh?) and every time they complain, switch the bracelet from one wrist to the other. The general idea is to make it 21 days without complaining, and thereby creating a complaint free habit. The Lenten idea, for me anyways, is to teach myself to control with whom I share which information. Does everyone in the office need to know that I'm in a fibro flare up and am having a hard time walking? Probably not. Do they see me walking weird, of course, but I don't need to complain about it. Over the weekend I was having an exceptionally difficult time walking, and especially on stairs. I kept reminding myself to "trouble he who troubles me" and didn't avoid activities that required going up and down the stairs. Complaining about my physical issues has been my way of seeking human consolation rather than divine consolation, and it's difficult to offer up a pain that you're busy whining about, so I'm looking forward to focusing more on my relationship with God than with just anyone who will listen.
What I think I will find difficult is not complaining about everything else. Last week something frustrating occurred in the course of a claim, and I said to a co-worker, "Can we ban stupid people?" I have learned that I have a very low tolerance for mistakes in others (we won't get in to the mistakes I make - planks and splinters for sure). Never-the-less, I figure if I put detailed intructions in writing, and provide my e-mail and phone number in case anything is unclear or there are any questions, then by yiminy if I don't hear from you with questions I expect what I requested in detailed instructions! Right? Yeah, not so much. In fact, earlier that day I had mentioned to the same co-worker my complaining fast, so when I asked my him if we can ban stupid people his first response was, "Is that complaining?" Earlier he had seemed pretty tickled by the fact that he gets to hold me accountable to the complaining fast if he catches me complaing, so he said he was clarifying whether this comment fell into the parameters.
So! Fat Tuesday tomorrow - and no I will not be a compaint glutton tomorrow as a last "hurrah" - and then, Lent. This will be a good Lent for a complaining fast as it is booked pretty solid, and fatigue makes me more whiney. I'm actually a little nervous, and wonder if I'm over-extended, but committments have been made, so we'll see what happens. So far today, I don't think I've complained about anything, although, I have been alone in my office pretty much all morning...
A Lenten Motto: Phillipians 2:14,15
Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world... (NAB)
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe... (NIV)