Today was a day of putting it to the test. This being more bearable thing that is. Last night my husband announced that he was going to the store. I asked him if he didn’t mind if he would bring back a loaf of bread and some breakfast sausage. I specifically requested a certain variety of sausage. When he returned from the store he said, “I’m just going to put this sausage in the freezer.”
“Alright. Thanks!” I said as I continued washing the dishes. I never looked at what he brought back. I assumed he got the same exact sausage that he has ever seen me bring home.
This morning I opened the freezer to get the sausage and there it was. Totally not what I asked him to bring. Yeah. This is the tiniest mole hill in the history of molehills. NOT a big deal. But normally I would make sure to snap on this man the second he got within ear shot, “WHY can’t you bring back what I ask? Have you EVER seen me buy THIS? I don’t know why you can’t just LISTEN to me when I speak! I always listen to YOU!” I thought about my usual reaction to these types of little things. I asked myself if I would appreciate this reaction to a simple error. Would God appreciate this from me? Would my husband appreciate this from me? No. No. NO. No one on this earth would appreciate this. Not me, not God and certainly not my husband. So I went about my business and it kind of kept simmering away in the back of my mind. I felt irritated. I WANTED to say something. I didn’t. I conquered that urge to exact my anger on my husband. No, he doesn’t KNOW that I held my tongue today. I didn’t say, “OH you know you are SO lucky that I wasn’t a total Bitch this morning! YOU”RE WELCOME!”
“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11
This was in one of my daily devotionals. The haste to give in to frustrations and anger with our words. I struggle with this daily. In fact I am struggling right now. As I type this my kids are hounding me left and right.
“HEY MOMMY! Look at this!”
“Mommy, listen to my song!” A very long song I may add……
“Mommy read this story!”
“Look what I drew!”
“Mommy, Daddy is watching the walking dead.”
I home school my kids so we are together a lot. I give them their handwriting practice in the morning and while they do that I go about other things. No one has a word to say to me until I am busy balancing the check book, reading, writing or just focusing in general. My frequent (though not consistent) response has been snappish. “WHAT do you WANT! Do you see that my attention is right HERE? ” Or “Will ANYONE give me just ONE MINUTE OF PEACE?!” Among other similar variations. But today, and the past several days….. I…have…. been…. SO….PATIENT. Trying to preserve the feelings of these dear people. I have simply pressed my lips together…. pressed my index finger to my lips and just didn’t say a word. I actually managed several times of a pleasant, “You know hun, I need just a minute okay?” No yelling or snapping or heaving heavy frustrated sighs. Just a calm and simple and pleasant response. It has been like moving a mountain every time I do it.
Do I expect people to really read my mind? I think I pay such close attention to my family I just assume they pay attention to me also. And I also expect them to “just know” when it’s not a good time. If I need someone’s attention when they look busy or focused I usually say, “Is this a good time?” Or, “Let me know when you have a minute, I need to ask you something.” I suppose it’s unreasonable to expect people who aren’t responsible for house and home to behave as if they are. In turning over this new and very difficult leaf I am trying to put a lot of sincere and contemplative thought into why I do the things I do instead of instantly defaulting to, “If people would stop driving me up the wall maybe my attitude would improve!”
It’s a work in progress. I am trying. REALLY. TRYING. I don’t know if anyone will notice, or care how I refine my disposition. I do want to know that the people who are around me every single day notice and appreciate my effort. But as is true with dishes, laundry, cooking meals, and scrubbing toilets and showers no one will likely notice or appreciate it at all. I have to recognize that early and be sure not to expect it and not to allow it to foil my efforts. I have to maintain my focus. I have to allow the Lord to lead me where I need to go.