Friday, April 5, 2013

How to not meet the status quo- and be thankful for it

Easter morning was chaotic. I should have been prepared with the clothes laid out and pressed with matching accessories and shoes but I didn’t. Three quarters of the clothes were in the laundry, wash or clean but wrinkled in a heaping pile on the laundry room floor. I woke up late and rushed around finding button-down shirts and some sort of khaki bottoms for everyone. Although looking like my life depended on it, I was unable to find matching socks in the whole house- for anyone. How does anyone have 18 socks with no matches? I felt like Murphy’s Law was at work at this point. So, with no matching socks I had them put on socks from the day before. Obviously not the ideal solution, but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.

Suppressing the disappointment and guilt I inevitably felt, I finally got all the pieces of everyone’s outfits together and told them to put it on. Tears and tantrums were the immediate response. As the time was ticking I started to give the evil eye and curl my lip in frustration. Still more whining and running all around. Anger started to rise and my voice was rising along with my blood. Why can’t they just listen? Why of all days are they fighting me with this? A button-down shirt isn’t too much to ask, is it? Well, in my house it was too much. At my wits end, weighing getting to church super late or disciplining properly I resorted to bargaining and bribes. 

I walked into the kitchen to see my husband dressed like he was going to play baseball. I’m like, “IT’S EASTER! Can you put on something a little more… dressy/nice?”  He looks at what I’m wearing and grunts, “Oh” with an, ‘I guess you’re right but I’m still annoyed’ kind of look. We had about 5 minutes to get in the car and no one had eaten breakfast yet. I tossed some eggs on a few plates and every other word I uttered was, “Come on, hurry up, let’s go, we’re going to be late, stop screaming, stop messing around, come on, hurry up…”

This is highly ironic since it’s a known fact for anyone that’s known me more than five seconds that I’m always late and just about everything I do is slow. But today it was everyone else’s problem that we were running late (so it was in my mind anyway… ) Plus, pointing fingers is so much easier than taking responsibility, right?

I just wanted so badly to be that picture perfect family dressed to the nines with darling smiles on, holding hands and being adorable. Instead I was the mean Mama barking orders at everyone while mopey kids and disgruntled husband shot non-verbal insults my way. Was that button-down shirt worth all this? Why did I care about such superficial things?

Of course we were late. Of course we all were miserable. On the way to church I kept wondering how many other families had the same morning as us. How many didn’t? What could I have done differently? From someone whose motto is “Don’t sweat the small stuff” all I was doing was sweating the small stuff.

I wish I would have woken up earlier. I wish I would have prayed that morning and asked God to help me remember what it was I was going to church for. I wish I would have let them pick out their own outfits. I wish I wouldn’t have been influenced by what culture says is “Easter outfits.” I wish I would have spoken sweetly to them and given out more words of love and encouragement then of judgment and hostility. I wish I would have said, “You want to wear your Spiderman shirt? Okay Baby, I love that shirt too.” I wish I would have looked at my husband’s casual outfit and said, “You look so handsome- I love you no matter what you wear! (because he did and because I do)” As I sat there in the car wishing my morning away and rethinking my attitude, I started thinking about Easter. I thought about why we’re even going to this church building. I should have been praying for souls to be reached, for God to move in the hearts of those attending, for God to heal my broken way of thinking, for Him to touch people’s lives through the worship and message. I should have cared about different things.  

After all my apologies and after the service was over and we came home, everyone ripped out of their clothes not one minute after stepping into the house. I immediately thought, “Well all that fighting was totally not worth it.” I didn’t get one picture of us… instead I got a lesson learned. The best lessons learned are the ones where you can look back on your mistakes and say, “Wow, that was dumb… I’m not doing that again.” Later that day as all the Easter Facebook pictures popped up on my news feed I just smiled and thought, ‘We missed that picturesque moment, but I learned a timely lesson that I wouldn’t trade for all the pastel pants and Chaps shirts in the world.’ Next Easter I’ll concentrate on things that matter. I’ll think about Jesus instead of fancy clothes. We’ll more than likely be the family dressed like we’re going to a sports event. Maybe some of us will be wearing clean socks, maybe we won’t. Maybe we’ll have our shirts tucked in, maybe we won’t. One thing is for sure, I’m not going to sweat the small stuff. No one will be spoken to harshly and we’ll be wearing the only thing that really matters… a thankful heart for Jesus.