2020 has certainly given us a lot to be grumpy about. It has also given us much to be thankful for. When it comes to having a grateful attitude I’m reminded of the most fun I’ve ever had in an airport restroom. Here’s the story.
A few months ago, I was in the airport headed to New Jersey. It was a typical rush, rush, rush morning. Grab the bags, trudge through traffic, hunt for a parking space, follow the herd, wade through security, dash to the gate.
Folks aren’t usually very friendly in airports. Eyes look straight ahead. Purposed feet slap the floor. Overstuffed bags roll behind. It’s not that people are grumpy. They’re just “flatish.” (That’s a new word for today.)
On this particular morning, I looked just like everyone else. “Flatish.” Before settling in at my gate, I decided to make one last trip to the restroom. I’m so glad I did. It was one of the most joy-filled places I had been in a long time.
Gretchen, the “hostess” for this privy, donned a silly little hat on her head with whimsical feathers waving about the top. If it wasn’t for the official attendant’s vest she was wearing, I might have thought she was on her way to Mardi Gras. With a spray bottle in one hand and a cloth in the other, Gretchen welcomed each “guest” into her “home.”
A woman in a green jacket exited a stall and Gretchen swooped in behind her.
Squirt, squirt squirt with the disinfectant. Wipe, wipe, wipe with her cloth. “Right this way, madam,” she motioned to the next person in line, “This one is ready for you! Come right in!”
With all the poise of a valet opening the castle doors for a person of honor, Gretchen welcomed each woman as if she were the most important person in her day. I stood back and watched as this 5-foot-5-inch bundle of joy wiped off toilet seats and cheerfully invited her next guest into the pristine stalls.
Gretchen had an effervescent sense of joy…wiping toilet seats. It seemed to come from a deep-seated heart of contagious gratitude. And it spilled over to every single woman who left her station. Women entered weary and worn and left with a skip in their step and a smile on their face. Some even lingered…as if they wanted to soak in just a little bit more before facing the world.
Yes, gratitude is contagious, and so is grumpy grumbling. Someone complains, and the next thing you know you’ve joined in and are complaining right along with them.
How do you think that grumbling started with the children of Israel in the wilderness? I think it went like this. One person picked up her manna for the day and said, “You know, I’m sick of this manna.” Then someone else picked up his and said, “Come to think about it, I’m sick of it too.” Then a neighbor agreed, and it spread, and it spread, and it spread. Next thing you know 2 million people are grumbling and complaining. Then a sea of ingrates wandered around the desert for forty years.
Make no mistake about it. Our attitudes are contagious whether grumpy or grateful. Click & Tweet! Whether we complain or give thanks, others around us will tend to do the same.
Paul wrote, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV). How in the world can we rejoice always and give thanks in all things? Ah, the answer is sandwiched right in between…pray continually. That doesn’t mean we’re on our knees 24/7, but that we are in constant communion with God throughout our busy day. We enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!
As I left the airport restroom, I noticed a tip jar resting on the counter filled with thanks. But I don’t think the “tips” were for wiping the germs away from the toilet seats, but for wiping the doldrums away from the ladies’ hearts. And for some strange reason, I just wanted to give Gretchen a hug.
She didn’t mind.
Gretchen reminded me just how contagious gratitude and joy can be. And how desperately I want to be a carrier. I hope you do too.
Heavenly Father, make me a woman of gratitude. I pray my heart will be infected with thankfulness and I will spread it to those around me. I pray the Holy Spirit will stop me from grumbling, and spur me to give thanks in all circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
List 10 things that you are grateful for other than Jesus and your family. I know you are thankful for those two. Let’s stretch. It doesn’t have to be big. Once you have your list, click on comment and share you list. Let’s be grateful together.
I want to hear God, to see God, to experience His presence in my daily life. Don’t you? That’s why I wrote A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. For one year I pondered the verse, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). What does that mean? How can my life be a fluid movement of living and moving in Christ? How can I experience the majestic in the middle of the mundane? If you want to learn more about how to experience God’s presence, not as a once in-a-lifetime occurrence, but on a daily basis, then this book is for you! It also comes with a Bible study guide for those who want to go deeper.