But there may come a day when you can do that no longer.
Then there will be no you left to criticise the mood, nor even to enjoy it,
but just the grumble itself going on forever like a machine.
In the book The Great Divorce, by C. S. Lewis, the main character encounters a woman who though she was on the outskirts of Heaven didn't notice it. She was too busy grumbling and complaining about everything and everyone and if we are not careful, we can fall into that same trap.
I'm am not proud to admit that I have fallen into that trap time and time again. Something is not quite the way I want it to be. Someone is doing something that annoys me. There are too many distractions and I can't concentrate (this has become very bad after my stroke for I am very easily distracted, lost my ability to filter out noise very well and so forth), or I have gotten into a "mood" and nothing anyone says or does is going to change that. Sigh... you probably either know someone like that or you have stumbled into that miry pit as well a time or two yourself.
It is very easy for us to slip into being a grumbler and complainer without even realizing it. Lately, I've been really asking God to help me in this area and one of the "assignments" the Holy Spirit gave me was to look for opportunities to give out compliments instead. I don't just mean the compliments that you give someone to their face either, though those are wonderful too. I am talking about giving a compliment that requires me to put forth some effort in order to give it. Let me give you an example.
A couple of weeks ago, when we had to remove our windows for cleaning, my husband discovered that something had been broken and jury-rigged by the previous owner. When we had to remove the windows from the frame, this piece that had been "fixed" fell apart and now our window did not fit in the track properly.
We headed up to a store to try to see if we could replace the missing piece but unfortunately the window was too old (23 years), we didn't know who the manufacturer was and so forth. We were understandably frustrated and not quite sure exactly what we were going to do other than try to contact the association and try to find out if we could get that information.
We had get something else at that store and while getting assistance, the clerk noticed that we had a window with us and asked if we needed any assistance with that as well. We ended up telling him the whole story.
What he did next surprised us. He took the window and examined it carefully. "You know, I think we can find something that might fill in that area so that your window will work properly again. Now let me see...
After about 10 minutes he returned with a solution. That would work! HOORAY!
Now, we could have simply thanked him, paid for our merchandise and left the store but then something occurred to me. If I would have had a complaint, especially if it was a major one, I would have marched up to the front of the store to find someone to complain to. It wouldn't matter how long I had to stay there. I would want to make sure that someone knew about it lest it happen to someone else. Well, at least that's what I would usually tell myself.
Now don't get me wrong. There is certainly a time to let someone know that there is a problem or that something has not been handled correctly. Most places want that sort of feedback so that they can correct problems if possible and have a happy customer rather than a disgruntled one who never returns and tells other people about their poor experience. The thing is, shouldn't we do the same when we are pleased with the conduct of someone else? How vocal we are when we are displeased and how silent we often are when we are pleased!
I knew that I needed to do the same thing I would have done if I would have had an unpleasant experience. I needed to talk to the manager.
I was told that I would have to wait a bit to talk to him. I said that was okay. I really wanted to talk to him. He was dealing with a problem that took longer than anticipated so I had to wait about 10 minutes. I saw him coming toward me, shoulders down and jaw set with a grim look on his face. I smiled to myself knowing that I was about to change his demeanor. I did. I mean, I really did.
Expecting a complaint, he received a compliment from a very pleased customer and I have to tell you, his shoulders lifted, the signs of fatigue left his face and it fairly glowed. It is amazing what a compliment, even if it is not about you directly, can do. It is also amazing what giving a compliment does to the giver.
I want to be more than just a grumble. How about you?
[quote]It is amazing what a compliment, even if it is not about you directly, can do. It is also amazing what giving a compliment does to the giver.[/quote]
Well said and well practiced.