The Luxury of Small Complaints

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. I Peter 4:8-10

You have heard the adage: “The longer you live, the more likely it is that you will start quoting your mother.” Many of you know that my mother lives in a retirement community in California. They have been in “lockdown,” as she calls it, for seven weeks now. We talk each night via Facetime trying to stay as connected as we can without physical contact.

Every Saturday, my mother and all my siblings meet for a virtual happy hour through Zoom. A couple of Saturdays ago, we were all feeling a bit down and discouraged, and we could tell that we were heading down a path that would only lead to negativity, so we all began to share the highlights of our week.

My brother’s small town has the residents standing outside every evening at 8 p.m. to howl – yes, you heard right – to howl into the night – to remind them that they are not alone. One of my sisters started her own victory garden, painted the signs for the vegetables, cooked gourmet food, all while making masks for her family—hello Martha Stewart! Another has been homeschooling her children while working as a nurse and is enjoying life’s simple pleasures as a family again. Another one talked about the precious time she and her husband are enjoying together without all of life’s other pressures.

But it was my mom’s highlight that touched me the most. Her community had invited an opera singer to come to serenade the residents on their outdoor balconies – and many sang along with him.

After we shared our litany of good things, she reminded us that when we find ourselves complaining about the little things in this crisis, we need to be reminded of the “luxury of small complaints.” In those moments, we have the choice to engage in making a gratitude list, to lift in prayer those around us who are truly struggling, to reach out to someone who may need reassurance from us, and to remind ourselves that God is with us — we are never alone.

Rev. Dr. Deb Kaiser-Cross
Minister for Congregational Care

Prompt for Reflection
I experienced a moment of quiet joy today when. . .

For those who are weary and heavy-laden:
Loving God, we are reminded of how easily our commitments to following you can fade with a shift in our emotions – yet your faithfulness and love remain rock solid. When life’s struggles threaten to sear our souls or suffering strips us of hope, you are the source of our faith and courage, for you are the Author of new life. Amen.