Let's be honest, no one likes construction. Construction is inconvenient, messy, and loud. Here at Holy Rosary, we have had the purgative experience of construction right outside our door. Whether it was the mud on our shoes or clothes, construction on Milam, Westheimer, and across the Houston area has gotten us down in the mud. But what if I were to tell you that you don't need to be frustrated anymore? What if there was a way to experience construction with a spirit of gratitude instead of contempt?
Developing a spirit of gratitude is one of hardest spiritual exercises to master. Yet, the first step for having a spirit of gratitude is simple (at least in theory). All one needs to do is express gratitude in the face of adversity or trial. At first, it may seem exhausting or even fake to force yourself to express gratitude in a difficult situation, especially amidst construction. However, by performing little acts of gratitude, you and I will notice a change in our affect and spiritual life. Second, you and I need to recall how grateful we truly are in the circumstances that we find ourselves in. How many countries or cities within a year of major disaster can afford to put in disaster-preventative measures like the ones we have on Milam.
I grew up in New Orleans, and my sister was one of the first to move into a house which was only two blocks from the infamous 17th Street Canal rupture. To this day, driving in that neighborhood (which is also served by a Dominican parish) still feels like driving on some of the worst roads in the Western Hemisphere. Even in those circumstances, how many brothers and sisters would dream of having roads like Milam to travel on! Yes, you and I are certainly inconvenienced by construction projects, but no level of inconvenience or frustration can take away our gratitude and joy as Christians. No matter how dirty our shoes, our souls should always shine with a certain sheen of Christian gratitude.
-br. James Martin Nobles, O.P.