Monday, October 21, 2013

A Faith for the Fallen: Gratitude

Even before October 13th's readings and homily about Namaan and the ten lepers, I had been thinking about gratitude. Why? Because of my cat. Bear with me a moment, as I'm sure you're wondering how I could possibly be learning about gratitude from a cat. Cats are notorious for being finicky, independent, and self-absorbed, and they certainly can be all that, but not this cat. I've written about Biscuit before, but she continues to impress and teach me. The biggest lessons I have been learning from her are about trust, adaptability, and gratitude. 

Having been a stray, struggling to get enough food and stay safe, it would have been easy for her to overindulge or horde food, especially since she shares food and bowls with Bilbo; instead she is willing to share, so that both have enough to eat. Over the past four months, as Biscuit has come to trust us, she has showered us with affection. When Robin is yowling at back door, wanting to go outside, Biscuit will come over and rub against him, but when we let Robin out onto the deck, Biscuit has no interest in following him. I can only believe that having lived "out there," she knows that what she has here, with us, is better. In so many small, feline ways, Biscuit continually shows her thankfulness for her new life with us.

Sometimes I am really good about giving thanks for all the wonderful blessings I have received; other times, I become so focused on what I don't have that I forget or ignore what I do have. Our need to do something to try and emerge from this struggle can make it incredibly difficult to maintain a focus on how we have been blessed. With infertility, those time consuming somethings can be charting, testing, doctor's appointments, chart reviews, dietary changes, coping with side effects of medications, or researching treatments or adoption, amongst so many more. If your struggle is continued singleness while you desire marriage, the time and focus consuming somethings could be singles events, networking to meet more people, or online dating. It is so, so very easy to focus on what we can do instead of what we already have. Our more focused culture certainly exacerbates this. Even worse, in focusing on what we don't have, we can take for granted what we do have. 

I have certainly taken my husband and family for granted at times during this IF struggle. When I talk about my husband, I am frequently told how lucky I am: he cooks, helps with the cleaning, listens, and even insists on doing what I want. He works hard so that I can stay home. He encourages and supports me getting involved and volunteering, even when it takes away from our time together. Not only do I not always feel lucky, I don't even say "Thank you" or show appreciation as much as I could. I have been much more likely to show my irritation than my gratitude. Though my mother doesn't really understand what we are going through, she has made a consistent effort to listen and support us, even to the point of helping pay for tests and treatments. Without her help and commitment to continuing to help I would not have been able to leave the job that was causing me so much stress. I would have had to stay in that position, despite our belief that the stress was contributing to our IF, in able to afford continuing treatment. 

Recently I have made a commitment to be more thankful and to show my gratitude more often, both in prayer and to those around me. While I'm starting to improve, I still have a long way to go; I hope you will join me in trying to cultivate a stronger sense of gratitude.


  1. It's always so refreshing and somewhat re-energizing to take a step back and realize all we have to be thankful for. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it.

  2. I love that you learned about thankfulness from your cat!...I will haved to show this to my hubby who is the cat lover in our house. So beautiful and true, we are very blessed, and sometimes need to just "be" in thanksgiving.

  3. I love how God talks to us in so many ways... and in this case through a sweet cat!