The Simple Things

Have you ever been bothered by a Facebook status post? You know those cryptic texts that your friends post and you just feel like there’s something wrong…

Recently, my friend posted a status on Facebook, I couldn’t help but message her and ask what was wrong.. She replied and said she felt like the world is against her and that it seems like all her plans don’t work. Bothered by the tone of her text, I called her instead. Her voice was shaky and it sounded like she got a bad cold. I asked her if she’s crying and she just burst into this wallowing voice and poured all her frustrations… I didn’t know what to say. She talked about her failed marriage and not having a decent job, her child who got sick and how it bothers her that it’s just the two of them together now.

I am lost for words because I couldn’t even begin to imagine what she was going through… Then out of the long pause and silence we had, I shared with her a practice that I started last year with my kids.

Every night after we say our prayers as a family, we would always say what we are grateful for for the day. When we started this practice my husband and I would always come up with very serious and deep answers. Like, we are grateful for having a loving family, having the opportunity to work so we can provide a happy and abundant living, having happy and healthy kids and the like… and because we say it that way our kids would struggle and always come up with interesting answers.

One time instead of me going first, I asked my son what he was grateful for and he answered: “I’m happy because dad bought me french fries” and then my daughter said, “I’m grateful because I have nail polish” and my 2yo said “milk!”

It is in that moment when I realized that happiness doesn’t have to be complicated. That it is with the simple things in life that we learn to appreciate what happiness is all about. There’s this one night where I said I’m happy because my husband deliberately struggled to crack a big piece of crab claw and afterwards gave me the meat while my kids burst into laughter. It was so sweet that I got surprised how a simple thing can make me “kilig.” I love the idea that we all got to sleep at night thinking of that one thing that made us smile that day.

I told my friend that maybe she can do that too with her child… That both of them can think of happy thoughts before they sleep so that instead of feeling the sorrows and supposed emptiness, they will see the beauty of that day. Sure, problems and difficulties will probably still be there but the thought of a person, an idea, an act of service, a feeling, that happens in a day would have made you smile – all you have to do is to remember. I love how my kids taught me what happiness is all about. That we don’t have to seek for more because sometimes those little things that bring joy is enough for you to feel God’s miracle. This practice taught me how to count my blessings and it is with my kids’ list that I learn contentment and love.

Tonight my 8yo is happy for his piano lessons, my 6yo is thankful for having her friends come over to play, and my 2yo said “mommy.”

And I said… I am grateful for having that conversation with my friend, realizing how simple life should be. I pray that she will feel better and may all her worries be gone. To my surprise, my son said, “Let’s all pray for her, Mom,” and we did!

Good night Neatropolis! May all your worries be resolved with the simplest gratitude.

How about you? What are you grateful for today?

The first leaves off the tree
The way you look at me
A thousand chiming church bells ring
The simple things are free
The sun, the moon, the stars
The beating of two hearts
How I love the simple things
The simple things just are

I heard this song from my friend’s wedding. It’s such a great reminder how the simple things can have lasting impact in our lives. That it is with the littlest of things that can make us truly happy.