Friday, August 12, 2011

Grouchiness or Gratitude?

In an episode on Sesame Street, Oscar the Grouch sings this lament,

“Grouches of the world unite! 
Stand up for your grouchly rights! 
Don't let the sunshine spoil the rain, 
Just stand up and complain (heheheh).

“Let this be the grouches' cause: 

Point out everybody's flaws! 
Something is wrong with everything
Except the way I sing!” 

This is followed by the Grouch Choir ooing in the background, then Oscar, in a speaking voice, saying,

“You know what's right with this world? Nuttin! You know what gets me hot under the collar? You name it! And the next time some goody-two-shoes smiles and tells you to have a nice day, just remember:

“Don't let the sunshine spoil the rain, 

Just stand up and complain! 
Just stand up and complain!”

Sometimes I've heard similar sentiments (expressed in ways that are far less humorous!) by people like ourselves, folks in the top 5% of the most well-to-do people in the world, relatively rich by almost any measure.

This not to say we should just paste on a smile when we are truly suffering or in need, nor that an honest venting of a good lament isn’t in order at times. In fact, a third of the psalms in our Hebrew Bible are at least in part laments, but they are mostly by people who are living in third world conditions, always only a step away from extreme want. Yet even these laments tend to evolve into some kind of affirmation of how good God is in spite of everything, and of how important it is to wrap ourselves in as much gratitude as possible.
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