Can We Be Grateful for Annoying Things, Too?

'Tis definitely the season for being grateful, counting our blessings, and all of those good exercises that remind us about the good parts of our lives. But maybe the reason it can sometimes feel cheesy and disingenuous is because despite our attention on the good, our lives continue to be also littered with the annoying - all those things that can put us in a bad mood, stress us out, "ruin our day." Bethany and Daniel Henderson decided to try an unconventional approach to gratitude - embracing the things that drive them crazy and...being grateful for them. Here are some examples from their article for The Huffington Post: "We are thankful for frequent middle-of-the-night wake-ups; the daily 20+ minute-long trek across the 50 feet from our back door to the car; the loud shrieks of kids squabbling; unexpected tackles that tweak our backs and necks; a messy house overtaken by toys; the irritating whines of children; never-ending loads of laundry; constant battles over the simple request to put on clothes/brush teeth/wash hands/get in bed/do anything at all mildly productive in a reasonable period of time; potty words that invade far too many conversations; and always being fove(or 10 or 20) minutes late. All of these daily annoyances mean we have the luxury of having children -- a luxury that seemed out of reach for so long while we struggled with infertility. A luxury brought painfully home by the recent sudden loss of B's summer camp roommate's child." "We are thankful for the weeds that have overtaken our backyard; the slab of stone façade hanging off the front of our house; disintegrating porches that need to be refinished; a leaky master shower; the way normal voices in the kitchen sound like a brass band marching through our bedroom; the perpetual bills of home ownership. All of these aggravations mean we have the luxury of owning a house, a safe space for our kids to play and be and grow and call home." "We are thankful for the need for weekly scheduling dates; the hassle of juggling three babysitters' schedules; constant negotiations over which one of us gets to do what after-hours work event when; hours spent commuting; hurried work trips crammed into as short a window as possible; never-ending emails. These mean we have the luxury of meaningful jobs, of being able to provide for our family." There are several more examples in the article, linked here. I really like their approach to the "gratefulness" of the Thanksgiving season. What frustrations or annoyances can we turn into blessings?

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