Grumbling vs. Gratitude 

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I grumble. Sometimes I’m irritated by having to wait in long lines or by the driving habits of others…and I grumble about it. Sometimes I’m less than pleased by getting the flu or having the aches and pains that come with an aging body…and I grumble about that. Sometimes I’m impatient with bureaucracy and paperwork and glitching websites and endless waits on hold, trying to reach an actual person to talk to…and I grumble about it. And sometimes I just grumble about life not being exactly the way I want it to be. 

C.S. Lewis wrote, Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining…but “you” are still distinct from it. But there may come a day when you can no longer stop. Then there will be no “you” left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. 

We all know people like this: people who have a sour outlook on life and communicate that dissatisfaction in each and every encounter they have with others. How much do you enjoy being around that type of person? Probably not much.

So, how can I make sure that my occasional grumble about something specific doesn’t become all there is of me? I have a secret weapon: gratitude. Gratitude is the opposite of grumbling. It’s paying more attention to what we have than what we don’t. It is the appreciation of what we have while we have it. It’s remembering who we are, the souls we love, and all the other blessings we have in our lives. Gratitude is what brings joy and contentment into our lives, and helps us grasp the deeper meaning in all that we experience: love.

In my family and social circle and spiritual community, I know people who cannot see, who cannot walk, who live in poverty, who have lost a spouse, who have serious medical conditions, who have faced financial ruin, and in general have circumstances and conditions that anyone else would label as devastating – and yet they have risen above them. They talk with enthusiasm about how grateful they are, and instead of focusing on their afflictions; they ask how others are doing and radiate compassion and kindness toward them. And in every single case, they were able to do that because they practiced gratitude instead of grumbling.

So, today, this day, while we may experience some situations that are less than optimal, we can make them worse – by grumbling – or better, by practicing gratitude. I don’t know about you, but today? Today I’m choosing gratitude.

A moment of Grace by Rev Steven McAfee @ONEBYONE COMMUINTY

Re McAfee is a pastor at Unity Fort Wayne Spiritual Centre. See the March Program below 

Reach Rev McAfee for his programs at