Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Great I Am

If you're like me, first let me say, "Sorry. It must suck being you." Oh, I'm just kidding! I am incredibly and undeservedly blessed in so many ways. What I mean is, I am my own biggest enemy sometimes; especially when it comes to my arch nemesis -- time management. I don't know why I procrastinate so much or why I simply forget things altogether. Some would say that this is a form of passive-aggressiveness. You know, kinda like sarcasm. Eh, what do they know?

If you read the comments section from a couple of days ago, you may have read that I was taking a 6 hour defensive driving course online. The comment was posted on December 23. If I didn't get the completion certificate to the court "on or before December 25", there would be a warrant out for my arrest. Since the courthouse is closed on December 25, obviously I was cutting it a bit short. Federal Express must love people like me! The early part of my Christmas Eve was spent: A) pacing back and forth by my front door then, B) racing to the courthouse (30 minutes away) before they closed, according to the lady on the phone "in the next 30 to 45 minutes". I literally made it there as they were shutting down the office.

I am street legal, but at what cost? I'm not talking about what it cost me to have the driving school fedex the certificate to me "top priority, morning delivery" on Christmas Eve. I'm talking about the cost to my family. I bolted out of bed the morning of the 23rd at 3:30 a.m. realizing I had forgotten all about the ticket. So, I splashed water on my face, brushed my teeth, found the school online, and immediately started the course. My husband had to go into the office, so my poor kids had to put up with a tired, stressed out, mean mom who didn't have time to spend time with them on Christmas Eve eve. They were excited about Christmas and all I did was yell at them to stop being so loud and complain about how inconsiderate they were being to me. Yeah, right. Whose fault was it that their mom was being a bee-atch? They certainly had nothing to do with it. They just wanted to hang out and have fun.

After finishing the test, I tried to lay down for a few minutes. I was mentally and physically exhausted, but I could not wind down. Then I remembered I had forgotten to get my son a flu shot. Incidentally, if you haven't had one you might want to consider doing so. My GP said that the strains this year are pretty wicked.

Anyway, my daughter wanted to come with, because she wanted to see her brother get a shot. By the time we had waited in the Redi Clinic at the local grocery store for 30 minutes, got the shot and picked up a couple of things at the store, it was dinner time. There's a Denny's across the street that also has a to-go menu. So I dragged my tired, grumpy, fed up self and my kids over there to get something to eat. As kids will do, they acted up when my patience was at an all time low. I snapped at them for things I usually would have ignored.

The manager handed me some menus, offered my kids some balloons, and asked how I was doing. It was fairly obvious that I was not doing too well, but I thought it was very nice for him to ask. We ordered our food and waited. He offered to get us all something to drink. When I told him "No, thank you." He insisted -- his treat. I still refused, but he brought my kids drinks. He shared a story with me about a woman he and his wife saw at the mall last Christmas Eve. About how she was terribly stressed out and ended up falling down, dropping all her packages and hurting herself. He shared with me how he felt bad that he had not helped her. At this point I'm thinking to myself, "Wow. I really need to get some perspective here. It's 2 days before Christmas and I'm running around acting like the Grinch." Our food came. He apologized for the wait, even though the food came out promptly. He wished all of us a Merry Christmas. I wished him the same, and I really meant it.

On the drive home, I asked my kids if we could play "the quiet game". (One of my personal favorites when riding in the car with them.) I thought about what had just happened. About how I claim to live a life abiding in Jesus, and I can't even minister to my own kids sometimes. That man's kindness was like a sledgehammer crashing through my armor. It broke me. We got home, I set the food on the kitchen counter and told my family to start without me. I went into my closet, fell to my knees and thanked God for His mercy, asked Him to forgive my selfishness and short temper. I also thanked him for that kind soul who took the time to minister to me when I needed it. At dinner, I apologized to my kids for being such a grouch. I still had a few last minute things to do on Christmas Eve, but I didn't stress about anything and I just feel grateful for what Christmas is about; not what we sometimes try to make it about.

Tomorrow, I'm going to go to Denny's. I want to thank that man in person. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't even catch his name. Isn't it funny that it takes a random act of kindness by a complete stranger to put me back on the path where I need to go? My God is everything I need and yet sometimes I find myself wandering far away from Him.

I heard this song on TV later that evening. It's one of my favorites. Hearing this song, on that night was also a gift. (While the images are beautiful, I chose to close my eyes and just listen to the words.) If you've had days or weeks or even years where you've felt overwhelmed and and under-joyed, I pray that this song will remind you that He is always near. God Bless You and Merry Christmas!

10 comments:

sherri said...

This was a very good, timely post.

I have done the very same thing.
I'm also a huge procrastinater!
(Only if it's something I don't want to do). I hate that because it causes so much uneeded stress, but I'll still practice it!

I have also been short with my kids when they were small, when alot was on my mind.

I remember once, when the kids were young, we were struggling financially and I was worrying my little head off about the bills and one of my boys kept asking me questions and I needed quiet, and I remember saying "SHHHH...you need to be quiet!" Then to myself I said, "Cause I can't concentrate on what I'm worrying about!" UNREAL.

oh well, it's good that you were mindful of the man God sent to speak to your frazzled heart. Props to you for planning to return to thank him. (People normally only return to complain I'm sure he'll appreciate the gesture.)

I was starteing to get stresses last nioght about everyone coming over and the house not being in order, then my boys and their friends came over and that helped me stop and enjoy the moment.

I swear, we're wishing our lives away some days.

I refuse. I WILL stop and smell every rose if it kills me!

sherri said...

And yes, I just read all those typos, but those actually reminded me to tell you how beautiful that song was, and that I could really relate...there is a TYPO in the song!
DId you see it?

Helen said...

Kathy, I am sure your kids forgave you. Forgive yourself. Maybe spend a day that is all theirs while they are on Christmas vacation. They will forget that you were irritable on Tuesday. Children are wonderfully able to forgive and forget. Oh, to be like that....

texasshawn said...

We all dent our kids. Fortunately, they heal well and quickly, and a simple, "I'm sorry." like yours, goes a long way.

Isn't it odd that we will trust God with our imortal soul, but not with the daily details of out lives?

sherri said...

texasshaun,
VERY GOOD POINT!!!

Annie K said...

It seems that the older I get the less I handle stress with grace. I think a big thing for me is forgetting to let peace rule over me and then stress takes over and before I know it...the joy is gone. I have humbled myself many times before my kids and asked forgiveness for being short with them. While I regret the action that caused me to have to apologize, I pray that the act of seeking forgiveness is what they remember.

Sherri said...

Annie, I guarantee they will remember the humbling of yourself to ask their forgiveness.

redclaydiaries.com said...

Great post, Katdish.

Obviously, I AM like you. So I've been in situations scarily similar to yours. (No arrest warrants yet...)

You're reminding me of something I've let slip a little lately: my reliance on God for my parenting wisdom, grace, self-control, etc.

I don't know WHY I think I can do it on my own, but I do. It's not usually until I blow it bigtime that I notice. :)

The theme of my parenting: GRACE. :)

Mare said...

Jill Phillips! This is one of my favorite songs as well. I actually have all of her CDs because most of the songs are as awesome as "I am." ha. Her songs really speak to my soul!!

I would have to agree...that to have a mom who apologizes to her kids and humbles herself in admitting her own wrongdoing to the people she doesn't "have" to do so for...is something pretty unforgetable.

JML said...

Funny thing, this post convicted me. I get so caught up in trying to get stuff done that I can be a bad word too. Honestly, though, true "Bee-atch" wouldn't have gotten the clue, so you're pretty OK in my eyes.