Bob Tamasy: Finding The No-Complaint Department

Monday, August 19, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

A guy in my morning exercise class, whenever he’s asked, “How are you?” often responds, “Can’t complain. No one wants to hear it anyway.” He’s right, of course. We don’t want to hear other people’s complaints. We have enough of our own.

Take the weather, for example: Too hot. Too cold. Too wet. Too dry. Or the government: Too big, too involved, or too controlling. Except when we want highway potholes fixed, relief following disasters, or various services provided when we need them. Then we can’t get enough government.

We complain when our favorite teams and players under-perform. We complain when spouses, family members and friends fail to meet our expectations. We complain when we go shopping: Unable to find a sales associate when we need one.

Or feeling harassed when a sales associate hovers nearby. (Admittedly a rare occurrence these days.)

We complain about aches and pains, major and minor. Especially as we get older. It’s almost a contest: “Any complaint you can make, I can make better!”

Even at church we complain: The music’s too fast, too slow, too loud, too contemporary, too old. The sermon wasn’t entertaining enough. Not enough multi-media to hold our attention. The service ran too long, disrupting our mealtime plans. And when we do go out to dinner, we complain about the food and the service.

So it surprised me recently when I spotted a sign in an antique store that read: “Too blessed to complain.”

When was the last time you felt that way? Have you ever felt that way? In our society, discontent is considered a virtue. Marketing people make it their solemn duty to keep us dissatisfied with what we have and where we go. According to them, nothing is worse than status quo. So it seems unnatural to feel “too blessed to complain,” doesn’t it?

To the contrary, the motto of our materialistic world is, “too much is never enough.” No matter how much we’ve got, we can always complain about wanting or needing more.

This is one reason I’ve marveled at the apostle Paul’s declaration: “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 3:11-12).

This is a striking statement, particularly when you consider where he was writing from – prison. No “woe is me”; no “life isn’t fair”; no “why me and not so-and so?” How could Paul avoid grumbling and complaining in confinement? How could he claim to be “content” in jail?

The secret, I believe, was his perspective. Paul remembered what life was like before encountering Jesus Christ, and knew his life with Christ was far better. Even though “before” he had been somewhat of a religious celebrity, and “after” he was treated as a pariah by the religious establishment. Paul recalled during his self-righteous, zealous persecution of those that followed Jesus, his victims demonstrated an inner peace he’d never known – until he, too, met Jesus.

Paul understood by refusing to complain, followers of Christ set themselves apart from people around them. That’s why he wrote, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation” (Philippians 2:14-15).

And Paul knew that no matter how bad his life on earth got, another life – a far better life beyond comprehension or imagination – awaited him. So, most likely the apostle often thought, even if he might not have used the exact words, he was “too blessed to complain.”

I’d like to be able to say that – and mean it. How about you?

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Joint Ash Wednesday Service

Washington Hills United Methodist Church will host this year's joint Ash Wednesday service with Rev. Dr. Elston McLain preaching and his Stanley Memorial choir providing the music.     There will be a light repast following the service.  The service begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday at 6216 Hadley Dr.   All are invited and welcome. (click for more)

St. Martin Of Tours Episcopal Church Chattanooga Presents Ash Wednesday Services

The imposition of ashes will take place during two services presented at St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church (7547 East Brainerd Road, 37421) on  Wednesday, with a morning service at  10 a.m.  and an evening service including Taize meditation and music at  6 p.m. St. Martin will also be presenting an ongoing Lenten Series called “Growing a Rule ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Principals Say Part 1 Of TN Ready Testing Should Be Cut Due To Online System Failure

Hamilton County principals are asking that Part 1 of the TN Ready Assessment be dropped this year due to the recent crash of the online system for the program. The principals also asked that any Part 1 TN Ready test results  not be applied to students’ grades or to evaluations and rankings for school personnel and school districts. The local principals also ... (click for more)

Allan Walsh Named New Bradley County Workhouse Superintendent

Sheriff Eric Watson announced the appointment of Allan Walsh as superintendent of the new Bradley County Workhouse, which will begin construction soon and be opened this year.  Plans are for the new facility, to be adjacent to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Jail and Courts complex, to hold up to 128 non-violent, low security inmates. A graduate of Bradley ... (click for more)

What Our Schools Are And Have Been Doing About Bullying

Bullying has been a widely discussed topic during the last few weeks in the wake of the incident involving the Ooltewah High basketball team.  Contrary to public opinion, Hamilton County Schools have not been passive in our efforts to address bullying now or for the past several years.  Unfortunately, bullying is a societal norm that is infiltrating our school community, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Warmth For Cold Days

I come across all sorts of warm things every day and as we burrow out of sub-freezing temperatures for a day or two, shaking off ice and snow, allow me to share a few things for a change that may take the bite out of the winter wind. This is what helps me. * * * Judy Bellenfant, who has been a soul mate ever since we shared jokes in high school classrooms, sends along this ... (click for more)