I screamed at my son today.
And when I say screamed, what I really mean is that I lost my ever loving mind and turned into what seems to me to be a crazy person. What I mean is that this tension that I let build from some pretty heavy other things I’ve been digesting this week basically just hit a tipping point, a final straw, the end of the line, or whatever other pithy way we want to say the end of ourselves, and all that mess just boiled right over the edge of my better judgement.
Sometimes I imagine the tipping point as that little match on the front of the Malcolm Gladwell book by the same name (excellent marketing by the way since I totally visualize that graphic now.) I see that little tiny match and in my brain it’s on an angle and someone just taps it and it falls flat onto the table it would have been standing on. Today if I was that match, I didn’t just fall flat on the table…I took a colossal nose dive over the edge of a cliff that landed deep at the bottom in a place called Crazytown.
I didn’t even realize I was on the edge of that cliff.
So when first my son had a disobedience and then a really nasty attitude accompanied by some yelling and flailing and swinging because he was mad and whacked me in the midst of his own version of crazy, I kinda lost it. But not right then. Right in that moment I felt my insides shaking and I told him to sit right where he was so I could come back upstairs to tell the guitar teacher (who had arrived just 2 minutes before) that we would not be having a lesson today after all because we had an issue. Guitar teacher is awesome, said encouraging words to me and then left, and 30 seconds later I was telling my 9 year old to head to his room.
He screamed at me all the way up two flights of stairs. And at nine, they’re not just saying things like “you’re a sock face” anymore either. They cut to the bone and push all the buttons.
I thought I was sort of collected when I went up to say “NOT OK….you don’t speak to me that way or certainly not hit me.”
Apparently I wasn’t. So he screamed more and said terrible things….and when I felt myself just falling apart and he said “I HATE YOU MOMMY”… something awful and ugly and sinful broke straight out of my mouth and I said the worst four letter word of all right back to him.
And then I burst into uncontrollable tears and ran straight downstairs and called my husband to come home. And then I called my best friend and sobbed telling her how awful I was and then she said “pray, go upstairs and tell him you love him and will be back up when you calm down.”
So I stopped and I prayed and cried and went back upstairs to my child who was heaving sobs as heavily as I was. I crawled onto his bed and we both just hugged and cried and hugged and cried some more and then I told that precious baby of mine, who I could NEVER hate, that I was WRONG. Wrong to lose my temper, wrong to scream at him, wrong to be harsh and lose self control. I told him I never have and never would hate him. And he sobbed and told me he didn’t mean it either and never could. And we laid on his bed hugging and crying and moving towards redemption for nearly an hour. We talked about our sinfulness and self control and how desperately we all need Jesus each and every day. Because this Crazytown tip happens in our sinfulness even when we have a great quiet time in the morning and KNOW better than to nosedive off the cliff of better judgement.
The past few days I’ve been thinking about trainwreck moments in life. Those things we say or do that we find ourselves looking at afterwards and saying “I NEVER thought I could or would say or do that.” A friend told me that very thing just a couple days ago as she has found herself amidst consequences of choices she never thought she could have made. The depravity of our humanity is ever close isn’t it?
And today as I sobbed my way down the stairs to call my husband, the first words out of my mouth were “I can’t believe I did that. I can’t believe I said that. I could NEVER actually mean it.”
Jeremy came home and he walked into that reconciliation with my boy and me. And we prayed as a family and talked about the consequences we would have from our anger, and we talked about the ways that Jesus shows up and covers a multitude of sins with his love.
After awhile we got off the bed to come downstairs and make dinner, and my sweet boy grabbed and held my hand all the way down the hall and down the stairs and into our kitchen. And somewhere at the end of the insanity and the confession and the repentance with one another and before the Lord, I felt as if our feet were set back together on a path that is now more whole than it was before we ever drove through Crazytown.
**When I kept silent my bones wasted away. I need to say friends, if there is something you’re holding in…a stress, a frustration, a hurt, in your heart, your marriage, a relationship, can I say please, let it out. Confess it before the Lord, confess it before the person with whom you have an offense, put it out there and say “I’m drowning. I’m at the edge of an emotional cliff…and I need help.” Even the Scriptures remind us that keeping silent and holding in the heavy dries up our strength. Ask for help, stop and take note where you’re standing along the way in your spirit so you don’t get to an edge and not even realize you’re there. Some days we all do this better than others to be sure, but I want to encourage you out there…you’re not alone. And when we lose it…when we bring our tears and our sin and our mess and lay it all at the foot of the cross, it is forgiven and moves then towards healing and restoration. Hope reigns supreme and we can move forward curiously towards the beauty that God creates in our lives…even on the other side of Crazytown.