How many of you have said something to the effect of “I know I shouldn’t be complaining but . . . “We seem to have an aversion, not to complaining, but to having other people thinking that we are complaining. Personally, I love to complain. It’s not my best attribute.
For Christians, the period of Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday and many give up something as a sign of sacrifice. Often the sacrifice is giving up ice cream or Tik Tok. This year, a good friend and colleague gave up complaining. It seemed like a brilliant idea, so I too gave up complaining. I admit that my first thought was that the next 40 days would be filled with grumpiness and frustration.
To my surprise, the impact has been something completely different and so profound that I notice the change in my behavior and attitude. Rather than being grumpy and frustrated, I find myself more patient, calm, and happier. I don’t know why this was the result, but I have a few guesses. Now, when something happens about which I might have complained, my first instinct is to evaluate whether it is even important and worthy of complaining. For example, I had to pick up my son from a practice and the coaches kept them an extra 30 minutes without informing the parents. My initial “evaluation” was that it just wasn’t a big deal and gave me extra time to read my book. If I determine that it is something important, my mind goes directly to finding a solution rather than dwelling on how my plans had been derailed. And as a result, my mindset is more positive.
Now I’m trying to figure out how to push beyond the 40 days and eliminate complaining forever. It might be a tough mountain to climb but I’m not complaining.
Take care and stay safe.
All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me by Patrick Bringley
A fascinating, revelatory portrait of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its treasures by a former New Yorker staffer who spent a decade as a museum guard.
Millions of people climb the grand marble staircase to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art every year. But only a select few have unrestricted access to every nook and cranny. They’re the guards who roam unobtrusively in dark blue suits, keeping a watchful eye on the two million square foot treasure house. Caught up in his glamorous fledgling career at The New Yorker, Patrick Bringley never thought he’d be one of them. Then his older brother was diagnosed with fatal cancer and he found himself needing to escape the mundane clamor of daily life. So he quit The New Yorker and sought solace in the most beautiful place he knew.
To his surprise and the reader’s delight, this temporary refuge becomes Bringley’s home away from home for a decade. We follow him as he guards delicate treasures from Egypt to Rome, strolls the labyrinths beneath the galleries, wears out nine pairs of company shoes, and marvels at the beautiful works in his care. Bringley enters the museum as a ghost, silent and almost invisible, but soon finds his voice and his tribe: the artworks and their creators and the lively subculture of museum guards—a gorgeous mosaic of artists, musicians, blue-collar stalwarts, immigrants, cutups, and dreamers. As his bonds with his colleagues and the art grow, he comes to understand how fortunate he is to be walled off in this little world, and how much it resembles the best aspects of the larger world to which he gradually, gratefully returns.