Who’s Complaining?

Just in from the USA: The 21 Day no-complaint challenge.

How long can you go without complaining? Recently, the pastor of a Kansas City church told people in his congregation he wanted them to test their limits. “The one thing we can agree on,” said Rev. Will Bowen, “is there’s too much complaining.” His challenge is for us to give up complaining, criticizing, gossiping or using sarcasm for 21 days. People who joined in were issued purple bracelets as a reminder of their pledge. If they caught themselves complaining, they were supposed to take off the bracelet, switch it to the opposite wrist and start counting the days from scratch. Rev. Bowen said it took him three and a half months to put together 21 complaint-free days. Now, about a half a million people around the world have requested free wristbands to rise to the challenge.

My fingers tremble as I attempt to comment on how badly I would cope with the 21 day challenge. No problem if you live on a farm in Kansas. Talking about my business travel experiences last night alone would doom me to wear the purple band of shame for at least three years. Why would I possible want to complain that the woman next to me on the plane was clearly suffering from Swine Flu, or that only kebab shops were still open by the time I landed in Wellington, NZ last night, or that it was one degree and I only had a business suit to wear, or the hotel was supposed to be 4 star and was really 1 star at best, or the hotel room smelled like a men’s locker room that hadn’t been cleaned for three years, or the bar fridge revved all night like a 747 at take-off, or the heating did not work and I had to huddle under a blanket last used on a sweating horse, or the traffic noise outside that made me think at any moment a truck would drive right into my lumpy, smelly, sloping bed that even a homeless person would reject.

I feel much better now. Imagine if I hadn’t vented all that frustration and held it inside me for the sake of a purple rubber band. Something would have snapped and it wouldn’t be the rubber band. Sorry Rev. Bowen, but unless your congregation live in a Kansas bubble you may be doing their mental health a significant disservice.

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