It's been a stressful couple of weeks. We have a situation going on that is unresolved, out with our power, and if the worst happens, will have a big impact on our family. At times like this, it's easy to only taste the bitterness of fear, confusion, and uncertainty. It's easy to fall into depression, and only see the 'bad' stories in the news. It's easy to be jealous of those around us who appear to be without struggles.
During these times, I think it's important that we make a conscious effort not only to recognise the sweet moments in life, but to create them. Focusing on joy, and doing kind things really does help. It doesn't change the overall situation, but it makes it easier to cope with.
So, when I find Molly dipping her fingers in the butter and licking them, I choose to see the funny side. There are far worse things in life than buttery little fingermarks on the furniture. The same goes for when Gareth gets a hold of the almost-finished jar of peanut butter, and has his hand right in there like Winnie the Pooh with his honey pot. It's hard to be miserable when a little girl is marching round the garden, and picking flowers to give to you, or when she giggles with excited delight over something as simple as putting on a pretty cardigan. It's hard not to laugh when a little boy is coming up to you with a gleeful expression, and tickling your feet, or clambering onto the sofa to fling his arms around you.
With adults and with children, kindness makes such a difference. In a fraught and anxious day, something as simple as making a couple of dumplings for the stew, just for my husband, because I know he loves them, can change the whole tone of the day. Seeing him smile like an 8 year old getting a special treat, and saying thank you, makes me realise how much of a difference the little things really make.
I'm a human being, with many faults and failings. I'm a natural worrier, with a tendency to be like Snoopy, lying on top of his kennel, and fretting. Slowly, ever so slowly, I'm coming round to the fact that this is pointless - that worrying does nothing to aid a situation. All I can do, day to day, is to see the sweet moments, act kindly, pray, and trust that God will work out the big stuff.