Do you ever have a moment when your camel's back is broken by a little, tiny straw? Recently, I had a day where I remembered the post I wrote about anger, and how much it impacted me. Let me share. I have to tell you honestly that this story almost hurts to tell, because it's vulnerable, for sure, but... it is a story worth sharing, because it was a teachable moment for me. And it made me think about that anger thing again a lot. For about 24 hours in a row, or so.
I had a moment with my husband one night last week. We were talking about my daughter’s year, and how I felt like every time the instructions came for her homework, I didn’t understand one piece of it- a piece that I felt ended up being very, very important. It had to do with one of the subjects my daughter struggles a little in. I was telling my husband that even though I attended the orientation at the beginning of the year, I felt there was no instruction or preparation for this aspect of her year, and her experience of First Grade. It ended up ugly - stressful, extremely stressful, for her and for us- and she was falling behind the rest of the class for this part.
I felt like I was something akin to someone swimming in tar all year, and the moment when the feathers started blowing in the fan and sticking to me was the last two weeks of school. Her friends were talking about reaching their personal goals, and I wasn’t sure our girl was going to be on par. I was in over my head with frustration, and I felt clueless. I felt like my questions about it were going unanswered, or at least sorta unacknowledged. And I felt like the one thing I did that should have made a difference (attending Orientation) ... just didn't. When Stephen reminded me that there were other things I could have done, other opportunities... I stormed upstairs. Yeah, cool I know.
This reminds me of an instance once, when Stephen and I were newlyweds. We were having "share time" in Sunday School, and I shared about losing my temper once or twice with Stephen when Molly was a baby. A friend of mine took me aside after church. "YOU lose your temper?" I said, "Yes, of course! Every once in a while... why?" And she said, "I just can't imagine you losing your temper. You seem so calm. I lose my temper a lot, but when I heard that you do, too, it made me feel so much better." That exchange still comes back to me from time to time, as I remember how important it is to be honest with one another about our struggles and even, failings.
Anyway, back to the story. I let myself stew in my anger for a few weeks, but after the feathers hit the fan, I told Stephen (unloaded) that I felt we missed out on enjoying the end of her school year, even though she ended up meeting her goals (at the last minute), because we were desperately hunting around for the books needed and the race was more of a desperate crawl (for me), than an energetic sprint. I perceived the other parents in the class, who perhaps had been through this before, if they had an older child or children just running to the finish line, no tar and feathers to speak of. I let him know that I was very, very upset and it felt unfair. I hurled insults at myself, him, and at pretty much everyone within a 10 mile radius. I self-righteously picked off every last feather and threw them at him as well as other people. I didn't apologize before crashing in bed that night with a huff.
The next day, my angry words and my tone of voice came back to haunt me. All. day. long. That’s because it was the worst day that I can remember, in recent history. First off, I lost my iPhone. I couldn’t remember the last place I had it until around 2pm. I then started cleaning that room, and worked on it for over an hour, and I still didn’t find it. I ended up cleaning toilets and wiping down sinks and crawling on my side under a bed to retrieve balled up toilet paper and lost toys. To this day, I can honestly say I don’t know where my iPhone was. My one-year old found it. And I don’t know where. I lost my temper multiple times, and screamed at the kids, and then my husband called at dinnertime, saying he was working overtime. Again. I fed the kids dinner by myself. Again. And guess who is on payroll and not paid hourly?
It was a comfort to know that my iPhone was safely on its charger, but the anger that spewed forth from my mouth wasn’t worth its big, huge, hefty, fat price tag. And let’s just say that the ministry of parenthood wasn’t the shining and golden first thing on my agenda that day. I’ll let you guess which electronic device was holding me hostage? I’ll let you guess why the ministry of parenthood was taking a major backseat, while I tackled the typical back burner that is - or should be- the rest of my life.
I’ll let you guess if it was a teachable moment for me... a moment when I learned that speaking the truth in love- to my husband, and to my kids- especially when the going gets tough- is so essential, so important. Let us strive to speak in love. Yes, even if it’s the truth- the bottom of our soul truth- and even if it hurts. God sees us, he sees our efforts, and he definitely rewards us, in His own way! ;)
Do you want to know the most ironic part of this story? I took the kids for ice-cream for an end- of-the-year celebration for Molly that day, and THAT moment of the day was in and of itself the best and most beautiful moment I can remember, in recent history. And guess what? That was my one moment this week that I was without my precious and coveted aforementioned possession. My iPhone.;)
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