Granted, we’ve been kinda cooped up lately, and since he is a boy who is ALL BOY, we run into some behavioral issues when he gets too bored or cooped up. So I have tried to stave off at least the boredom with things like making sugar cookies, working together to un-decorate from Christmas, playing games, doing crafts….you name it…we’ve been doing it. But the hours in the day are longer than my list of things fun to do, and sometimes un-fun things just have to go on don’t they?! (Laundry, tidying up, etc.) The cooped up though….well, since it’s been raining like crazy…it was bound to get the best of him…and me. And even when it stopped yesterday, my yard was a smooshy mess with giant trees swirling around in strong winds so I wasn’t exactly itching to send the kid outside to come in muddy-smooshy, or smooshed from a falling branch….even when he drives me crazy, I still love the little guy.
He was tough though yesterday….mean to his brother, rude to me, wildly disobedient, and ridiculously strong-willed (I wish I could say that last part was a real shocker, but with 2 hard-headed parents, the kid comes by it pretty honestly. SO….to all of you who said that I had it coming from when I was a kid….hope you’re happy now!)
Sometimes, I SOO wish I was one of those people who was described as a “gentle and quiet spirit.” But I’m not. I’m not necessarily an all out firecracker either, but I would have to say that if I leaned one way more than the other…I’ve naturally got more spark than serenity. And yesterday, I felt like my fuse got lit in the morning and as soon as I’d think I’d get it extinguished and under wraps, he’d do something else. Running around like a wild thing when I was on a phone call, poking my littlest one with a recorder, stealing his balloon, popping his balloon, and then….the thing that about put me into complete explosion….the pickles.
I was trying to take down some of the Christmas decorations…the ones that were so dead even 2 weeks ago they’ve been a fire hazard…wrapped around my banister, flanking my china cabinet, over the doorways….good thing my temper couldn’t ignite them, or we’d have been up in flames by 9 am yesterday! Anyhow…I digress. So, I’m taking down decorations in the foyer and my son starts yelling at me that he’s hungry. I tell him he needs to ask nicely and wait til I’m done and I’ll be glad to help him find something to eat. Next thing I know, I hear a crash…the sound of glass shattered…and I run into the kitchen yelling “What did you do?!”
I wish I ran in yelling “Are you ok?,” but by that point in the day…I was just over it. I did remind myself to make sure he was ok, which he was, but when I rounded the corner and smelled the stench of pickles combined with chards of glass strewn clear across the room….I wanted to just absolutely lose it. And I didn’t completely…but I was angry…and I yelled at him to please just go away so that I could clean the mess….and to please take his brother so that we didn’t end up at the hospital with glass embedded in anyone’s foot either.
It was one of those messes that makes you frustrated just looking at it….lime green, stinky pickle juice seeping across the room in the tunnels that the tile grout lines make…a pile of sandwich stacker pickles covering up even more broken glass…huge chunks of glass jar strewn even up to 8 feet away…and it stunk….pickle stink. Where to begin?! Sop up the juice with too many paper towels? Pick up the mound of pickles, retrieve the chunks of broken glass? All the while trying to keep a 2 year old out of the room which had quickly become a safety violation. So so frustrating.
I wiped, I picked up glass, I vacuumed TWICE, I swept, I mopped, and then I steam mopped….and I think…I hope that I got it all. As I was doing it all, I thought to myself…. “don’t cry over spilt milk…or spilt pickles.” And by cry, I mean “lose it.” Don’t let one thing ruin the rest of them…be slow to anger….turn away wrath with a gentle word…even my own wrath…with my own words. And I find myself realizing that even though I’m no monster by any stretch…not someone who goes nuts all the time (it happens sometimes though), I felt so so angry in my heart….and from the mouth flows what’s in the heart….and, from the heart, I ooze some serious ugliness.
This morning I spent some time studying anger during my quiet time. I came across these verses in Ephesians 4:
” and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. 26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. ”
Do not give the devil an opportunity….let my words give GRACE to those who hear.
Whack! Upside the head! And I feel convicted and resolute….that a battle against allowing anger to rule my emotions in these moments is a battle against giving evil a foothold. It’s me claiming the grace that’s been paid for on the cross, and grabbing that grace…clinging to that grace, and somehow…supernaturally…allowing that to be the thing that takes over my heart and proceeds out of my mouth.