Thursday, March 13, 2008
I woke up this morning tired before it started. With an achy back and a headache that required two ibuprofens before Chris left for work, I planted Abigail on the couch with me. She had Cars and I a blanket. A beautiful day, I didn't recognize right away the trigger for this particular headache. In fact I blamed it on the chance of precipitation for later today. Not likely as the headaches occur with the rain not with the chance of rain. But that was easy to believe.
We are dabbling in potty training. Dabbling because I seem to do more dabbing of puddles on the floor than dumping of puddles in the potty. Anyway with the dabbling came the crankies. Nothing was going well with my rather nervous toddler. And I wasn't managing well at all. The list of things I needed to get done was getting longer as the time passed and I was tired in every way possible.
I was suffocated by tasks that incomplete, by projects unfinished, by a toddler's demands unending, by the ten pounds the doctor requested lost, by the holly bush and the reminder, constant, that I am to be opening, growing in strength, flexing. The feeling was familiar anger and his partners paving their way into my heart--aggravation, impatience, frustration. Selfishness bothered by those things that impose on my plans and interfere with my life.
With Selfishness and his minions encamped on my heart, it is clogged, and stiff, shoving out the grace, love, gentleness, joy and selflessness. There is no room with Selfishness calling the shots for failure, no room for mistakes, no room for accidents. My identity becomes wrapped up in what I do, how Abigail behaves, where the crayons are currently residing, the whats and hows of existence. The people in my life replaced with their behavior and its reflection on me.
The back and headaches that accompany the anger distract me from my heart's formerly evicted resident, Selfishness, trashing the place. I strive to lessen the pain by making my life easier. Joy in routine and freedom in growth are deadened as I concentrate on tiredness, frustration, pain, and aggravation.
But today I find quiet space, give words to my condition, and look again at the holly bush. If I will allow, the plant's presence taunts me, reminding me of my resolve, and ultimately of the failure to carry out that resolve. If I listen, though, I can hear God whisper in the sight. As He did before. He reminds me of my resolve, yes, and with gentleness He defines resolve: not a destination, rather the first step on a journey.
Part of taking that first step was putting away the anger I was carrying with me. (Never picturing myself an angry person, there was a journey of conviction before believing that I needed to do that.) I had forgotten the admonition. I had allowed myself to dress in the dark. I picked that anger back up and I donned it like a comfy sweatshirt. I tried to return to my days in the tree, seeking shelter, and only what my faith offered me. I couldn't go back. I had stretched and grown, though I couldn't see it, but nothing fit quite as comfortably as I remembered.
I choose to believe the whispers of God. And resolving again to open up, to stretch, to serve, and love and glorify, to point heavenward so as to reflect the Son, I oust Selfishness and his marauders, and put away the anger. And that feels good.