Lynda MacFarland

Lately I’ve been thinking that life is a lot like the weather. There are good days, bad days, times of the day that are more pleasant than others.

And so it goes in the seasons of our lives.

Sometimes we feel on top of the world and like nothing’s ever gonna get us down!

Other times, we feel as if the weight of the world is on our shoulders and we’re never getting up again.

A lot of the challenges of life can be made less negative when we remember to find the blessings in the mess. I have a friend with a wall hanging in her kitchen that reads, “Bless this mess!” — and sometimes I think we need to learn to be grateful for the ‘messes’ in our lives. Messes can teach us to be patient, to be kinder, more compassionate toward others when they are struggling.

A mess can be of our own making, in which sometimes we need to say “I’m sorry, please forgive me,” or the mess may be someone else’s fault — in which case we can rise above our own hurt feelings and say, “I forgive you.”

Both are opportunities of grace. Because of that grace, I believe that it’s important to see the blessings in spite of the mess — or even the blessing that the mess actually is.

We have so many little things to be thankful for that sometimes we take them for granted.

Breathing is a ‘little thing’ we rarely think about.

And yet, if we couldn’t breathe, we would have a whole new appreciation for it, wouldn’t we? We would struggle for it, yearn for it, fear for our lives without that ability. But it’s so unconsciously done for most of us, we forget to be thankful for each breath.

“Little things,” like a warm, clean bed, a roof over our heads, children to love us, or spouses, or parents, siblings, or friends, ought to be appreciated.

And we ought to be grateful for them, too.

Indeed, every day is a gift to be cherished.

When we work at developing a grateful heart, it will take a lot to bring us down — and even more to keep us there. See the blessings and the goodness all around and then maybe, just maybe, the challenges won’t seem so bad.

And the messes won’t seem so deep or difficult to resolve.

I am a huge fan of people who have an attitude of gratitude. They are pleasant to be around, they look for answers instead of complaining about the problems, they smile at others who haven’t smiled in a long time.

They ask for help or reach out to help others without much thought to how that will make them look, or without worry that they will be criticized or judged for their behavior.

They have generous spirits and willing hearts. As we move through the last of our hot Texas summer and on in to another year, let’s look at all the blessings in our lives and take more than one moment to appreciate and focus on them rather than the things that make our lives tougher.

And let’s lean on one another for support. Our collective positive energy can do great things! Let’s work (and play!) together to see the good and the blessings, and the love.

Let’s share the good word about approaching a challenge from a positive perspective.

There’s much we can accomplish together.

As we leave another long, hot summer behind us, let’s plan on facing the challenges of the future together.

Talk to your family and friends about the things that truly matter. And don’t forget to share the joy, as we gratefully acknowledge our many, many blessings. As for me, and for many of us, let’s thank God for them, too!

Lynda MacFarland is the wife of the III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general. She is a proud Army wife, mom and advocate for military families.

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