This little purple band is a curious thing. We have been to challenged to wear it as a reminder of our commitment to the “No complaining for 21 days” effort. We’re to switch wrists if we complain and then start again at Day 1. (for more read more here)
Friends tell me:
- their kids refuse to wear them. Of course not! What kid would willingly give up the power they hold in complaining?
- it is annoying! They don’t like anything on their hands. What is a reminder, if it doesn’t get your attention.
- their grand kids have made it their mission to get them to complain, thus having to switch their band. Clever grand kids.
- they have censored themselves on Facebook. No comment.
- they handled a thrashing on the athletic field as “great opportunity to improve” and this spoken in halting words as they rolled up their sleeve to twang (but not switch) the band.
It’s a purple piece of rubber!
No one else in my family is wearing this band. As far as I know, no one else on my street is wearing this band. Now that the weather has turned cool and we have pulled on our sweatshirts and jackets who could tell? But I am and I know it, because the thing keeps slipping up and down my wrist and flopping in my way and getting caught on my sleeve and falling off when I take off my sweatshirt and sticking on my mouse pad when I try to type and obscuring my watch face when I look at the time and do you take it off in the shower and…well, you get the picture. It demands attention. That’s its job.
Who knew what power a wrist band could have? I’m not sure it’s the band. I think it may be the power behind the band. Our pastor has called the attention to a non-complaining lifestyle a spiritual discipline, and it seems to have claim each of us differently. Which sounds very like the Spirit to me.
For me, it’s a self editor. Not a “shut up and don’t say that” but more of a “check and see if this is what you want to say, how you want to say it and how you want them to hear it.” Now, there is a learning curve, my family would assure you. I’ve had plenty of, ‘oops, that was a complaint’ moments. (switch) But increasingly they are, ‘I said that positively, right?’ or ‘lemme think how best to phrase this’ or ‘perhaps this could wait’ or even ‘never mind, it’s not that big a deal’ moments.
Yep, ironically, there’s been a progression in the no complaining process. That band and its prohibition has got me stopping and thinking before speaking. Go figure. I think it even has me dismissing complaint-thoughts more quickly. “Can’t complain?…what’s the point in wasting the energy?”
Which makes me realize that my complaining may have been fueling the thoughts all along. My words igniting the thoughts, which were inciting the words, which were enabling the thoughts. A vicious feedback loop. Now that I’m not giving it the satisfaction. Poof, the whole energy sapper starts withering away. Which is just fine with me. Who’s got time and energy to waste?
I kidded with my friends that the bands were an outward sign of an inward dis-grace. But I fear it’s true. Nothing like a physical annoyance to remind us there is work to be done and it requires our attention.