I'm Catholic; Lee's Presbyterian. Sometimes to bridge the gap at dinner, I will say a freestyle grace.
I'm horrible at freestyle spoken prayer. (Not that anyone can be really bad at prayer because the important thing is that you pray, doesn't matter what you say.) I go off on tangents and say awkward things. For example, a few months ago while I was freestyling grace before dinner, I said, "Dear God, I just want to thank you for all the amazing and wonderful things you've blessed us with. [So far, so good...] I know a bitch a lot --"
What is wrong with me?! So in an attempt to apologize to God for all my complaining when I know how lucky and blessed I am, I said, "I know I bitch a lot." This is why I like to stick with "Bless us O Lord".
But in all honesty, and moving past my use of the b-word during prayer, I do complain way more than I should. I always want more when really, I have more than enough, more than most even.
When I think about areas to improve as a person and Christian, I think the biggest thing for me (and really what it all boils down to) is loving and giving generously. Sharing your love, time, fortune, gifts, chocolate chip cookies, extra tickets, hugs, anytime minutes generously with no holding back. Love love love. Give give give.
We were at Lee's church yesterday (I go to mass every week. Sometimes Lee comes too. Sometimes we go to his church. There's lots of church.) and the minister had a particularly challenging sermon seeing as he gave us all money. For real.
As we were reflecting on the story of the widow's mite and how when we give it's not from what belongs to us but from the abundance God has given us, he told us to pass out the envelopes that were at the ends of the pew. Inside was $2 to give to someone in need this week.
I'm really excited about my $2 and a chance to be a better giver. I haven't decided who's getting it yet. Louisville seems to be a hot spot for people collecting money at intersections, more so than anywhere I've lived. Or, my best friend just had her appendix taken out so she might need some flowers, cookies, or trashy magazines. (Okay, maybe trashy magazines aren't the best idea but they would be appreciated by the person in need!) Lots of options!
I was out one afternoon walking through the Highlands with some friends, one of whom was a friend of a friend I had never met before. We wandered by someone asking for money and friend-of-a-friend just gave the woman $5. As we moved on, someone made the comment wondering if the $5 was just going to the liquor store across the street, which was exactly what I was thinking. But then friend-of-a-friend said, "Well that's between her and God." Friend-of-a-friend is very wise.
Goal for my 26th year: Give more. Love more. Don't ask questions. Just give and love. Starting with this $2.
And maybe complain less too.