I woke up on the wrong side of the world this morning. Just nothing felt right. Nothing seemed to be going right. I just wanted to shrink away from the world and hide my head under my covers and be left alone.
Yup. I was a grump.
A royal grump.
But hiding under the covers wasn’t an option. The day was going to progress with or without me and being a bystander to life generally doesn’t work very well.
So I went to church, pretending that I was in a happy mood even though I was in an absolutely foul mood.
Usually, I go to church on Saturday night because it’s the only way that I can get my children to church with fewer complaints. At least they aren’t being awoken on one of the few days that they can sleep in and they can’t complain that they didn’t have enough time to eat breakfast And since the Saturday night service is at 5:00 in the evening, it’s just before dinner so they can’t really complain that I’m depriving them of a meal.
But yesterday, the Boy had a forensics competition and didn’t get back to the school until 5:00 which is right when the service was set to begin and so, no church last night.
So I decided that this morning I was going to go to church and at least find some time with God because I had seriously been neglecting my relationship with Him recently.
This morning, I really needed my time in church. Because though I had a huge smile plastered on my face, I was not in a bright and shiny mood. I sat in the pew next to a student’s grandmother and chatted with her about school and about life and we talked about the pressures and stresses the students are experiencing and how many adults aren’t listening to the kids complaining about their stresses and are just dismissing the kids’ descriptions of their stress and their sleep deprivation because kids are being “too social.” Yeah…tell that to the kids when they are juggling classes and college/scholarship applications.
And there’s the surge of the temper right now.
The service started and the minister/preacher (I can never remember the right name/word) welcomed us to church. And I love how he opens every service. “Welcome to the most refreshing hour of your week and welcome home.”
Because, to me, that is what church is supposed to be about. It’s not about judgment. Yeah, sometimes I really need to be reminded that my actions and my words are not always synonymous with God’s expectations. But I can’t stand it when people stare at my left hand and then my kids and the empty spot next to me because my husband doesn’t come to church with me.
Really? Don’t you have something better to worry about? How about the orphans and the widows that we were commanded to serve? Or, how about the social and political injustices being perpetrated around the world?
The memory verse for the month (and now I can’t remember the verse…Good Lord, I am not doing well today) was about finding courage and faith in times of sadness and grief. And given what’s been happening recently in Paris, in Mali, in the world…I needed this verse. I needed to be reminded that I during times of grief, during times of crisis that I need to cling to God.
The music started. And the praise team started singing and I fell into the rhythm of worship. Honest, real worship. Praising God even though my voice would crack on the high notes and would sound all nasally as I tried to reach the high notes that my voice wouldn’t crack on. But I was hidden within the congregation and no microphone was close to me and I was making a “joyful noise unto the Lord.”
The sermon today was the first of a series of twelve, a message about the identity of Jesus. How he so many names that, no matter the circumstances, I could find a way to connect with Him, could find a way to know and see that He is always my lord and savior. As I write this, I feel like my words are superficial, empty of the meaning I was finding today because as I listened to the sermon I could feel the grumpiness leak away.
I would like to say that I walked out of church and felt completely relieved of my grumpiness, that everything was perfect and wonderful.
But I would be lying. I went home and went to my office and read blogs and played games on Facebook and just felt grumpy. Because although I had found a reprieve in my church, something about the drive home, the return to whatever atmosphere that was toxifying my sense of self was still there. And it has nothing to do with my home or my family. It’s just about the fact that I was in a grumpy mood.
So I grumped and lived and grumped some more. And then I went to see Specter with a friend and fell out of my grumpy mood for a couple of hours. And then I left the movie theater and drove home and could feel the grumpiness nagging at my senses.
But as I drove along the main thoroughfare and came to the stoplight where I have to turn left so I could go home, I caught sight of the silhouette of the American flags flying over a car dealership and a Lowe’s store. Framed against a golden-red sky with dusky gray clouds floating just off the horizon, I finally felt that emotional release.
I’m tired. And a bit overwhelmed. And I have a few puzzles pieces that I’m trying to reconcile to the angles of my life. But I have a good life. A very good life.
My daughter and I ran a very successful 5k yesterday. My son had a great time at the forensics competition. My marriage is wonderful and going strong after sixteen years of marriage and twenty-one years of time together. My parents and my parents-in-law are in good health. I am about to have a five day weekend after an easy two-day work week.
I am financially stable. I am in good health. My family is in good health. I have great friends, a great job, great students, great colleagues.
I have a great church and a great community in which I live.
I have great pets.
A great car.
A great house.
A really great book collection.
A great community of writers and editors.
As I sat there and watched the world do its thing, watched the flags being pulled by an eastern wind and saw the evening drop its cover over the world, I could feel the grumpiness finally lift.
The emotions had run their course.
My world is good, and I am fully aware of it. And perhaps the greatest blessing that I can have is knowing that no matter how much grumpiness I might experience, I am still aware that my life is good. I am rich indeed.