Yesterday we had a meltdown because of a Buzz Lightyear sippy cup.
It was in the dishwasher along with other dirty items and desperate little hands couldn’t get to it. This resulted in a full-blown tantrum and mommy using her outside voice (ie: yelling) and utilizing both the first and middle name.
And as I consoled him with the still clean Woody, Rex and Jessie sippy cup, filled quickly with cool water, I had to smile a bit as I went back to loading the dishwasher. Sometimes it’s easy to look at what I do on a daily basis and just sigh. So much of it is trivial. So much of it is just.... little. No, don’t touch that, it’s Mommy’s. No, don’t touch; hot! Yes, that’s a cow! No, that’s not a pig, that’s a horsey! By the time my husband gets home, it’s really no wonder that I can’t form a sentence that doesn’t have to do with animal sounds or what Joel ate that day.
But then my perspective changed as I tried to search out the bigger lesson. To get past the annoyance and frustration and my son’s angry outburst. What must God feel like? He is our Father and isn’t so much of our day-to-day griefs, well, ... little?
She hurt my feelings. He didn’t listen like I wanted him to. I didn’t get what I wanted. She cut me off, he drives too slow. He’s in my space. My food isn’t coming fast enough. The bath is too hot. Too cold. Not soon enough. And on and on. We are so petty. We are so... young.
I don’t want to be a spiritual toddler. I don’t want to flip out the instant things don’t go my way or even when the bigger things strain and break my heart. I don’t want to keep reaching for a dirty cup when a clean one, full of goodness, is right there. But if I don’t train my eyes to see bigger, then I will only see small. If I don’t take what’s handed and pause just one second and take a deep breath to evaluate what my real response should be... well... then I guess I’ll be having tantrums on the kitchen floor along with my 20 month old son.
I want to show him that it’s okay to wait for things you want. That it’s right to not always have things work out the way you want. But what happens when Mommy wakes up with a headache and stumbles around on too-little sleep? What happens when the bad mood wraps me up like a blanket and I feel justified in it’s false warmth? What am I showing him? What am I showing myself to be true?
Laziness promotes pity-parties. The less you do, the more overwhelmed you feel and you just come out feeling all kinds of lousy. Whether it’s putting off the laundry for one more day or just ordering pizza again, no matter what the easy options are, eventually they kind of nauseate you. Because you know, deep down, it’s not meant to be like this. It’s supposed to be bigger. Brighter. More.... just.... not what it is right now.
In midst of writing this, I stopped to thank my son for leaning into the Kleenex vs. fighting me. Isn’t that where we all need to get? To say hey, here is my messy. Here is my sickness. Here’s the gross. Take it away. You have to choose to see it and you have to choose to surrender.... and you have to choose to trust the hand reaching out to clean you up.
If I talk about too hard days, what am I really saying? If I have a string of bad days and if I line them up like a set of wooden blocks, always before me - what am I seeking to prove? That I have been dealt a worse hand? That my lot in life is harder than anyone else’s? And ultimately, with all that whining and reaching and begging.... am I not acting as though I don’t believe I have a good enough God?
Are we satisfied with the manna that we’re given? Are we okay with the little?
Joel can’t demand that I love him but not care for him. He can’t expect me to give him handfuls of Goldfish but ignore his drippy nose or stinky diaper. And while sometimes I try to explain away the tears and frustrations, other times it’s a firm, purely parental, “No, honey. Just no.” And I expect him to accept that as much as the times that I explain and hug and kiss away the big, fat alligator tears. I wouldn’t be a good parent if I gave him everything he wanted when he wanted it. I would ruin him. I would wreck this perfect, beautiful little soul that I absolutely love.
"... Be at peace. Bend the knee
and be small and let God give
what God chooses to give
because He only gives love
and whisper... thanks."
~ A n n V o s k a m p
This is why giving thanks at all times - not just in November - is so important. Being thankful makes the little, large. It puts a magnifying glass on all the things that you hang tight to and call a life and makes you see that there’s a bigger story and that the blessing is greater than your natural eye can take in. Only when seen through a different lens, a new focus, can you see that it’s really not all that small at all. It never really was.
Inherently we know that the more we focus on what we have, the more we try to hide our blush at how ridiculously blessed we truly are and know ourselves to be. While we kick dirt and complain and harbor seemingly justifiable hurt feelings and righteous anger and downright selfishness, isn’t it when we notice the things around us, the people, the home we come back to... isn’t it then we realize that our daily bread comes with a lot of side dishes?
"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread..."
~ M a t t h e w 6 : 9 - 1 1