Today’s Sabbath Revival blog was originally posted by Justine back in January 2008.
I walked out the front door fuming. I could’ve smacked that kid right across the face — and felt good about it. I was so ticked off about her snarky attitude, her willful disobedience, her provoking comments. It was a good thing I had a breakfast date with some girlfriends. I had to give myself a time-out in a serious way. Christmas break was in its waning days, and everyone was getting a little too tired of being on top of each other every day. I walked out the front door thanking the Lord for public schools.
I sat down at breakfast with three of my dearest friends. We ordered, and spent the next two hours gabbing and picking at delicious french toast with cream and fruit. (ok, just typing that makes me want to go back there. I’ll be back in 20 minutes).
During our time together, I unloaded about the kids behavior. I turned to one of my girlfriends — who is in the middle of a divorce — and said, “How do you keep it together, being all alone? I’d come completely unhinged without my husband around to relieve me. I really wanted to kick and holler at that kid this morning!”
Her response is still echoing in the fairly hollow recesses of my brain.
“You wouldn’t want to kick and holler at them if you were in my shoes. I thank the Lord every day that I get to do their laundry, that I get to cook their food, that I get to unclog toilets for them. I thank the Lord every day that I get to be in their lives.
I had to watch them go out the door on Christmas Eve with a man who is so totally unworthy of them. I sat at home and cried for hours. When I was married, I would have given anything for a weekend alone. Now, I’d give anything to never have to watch them walk out the door again.”
Me — chastised. Seriously.
We all cried together over delicious french toast, trying to support, trying to understand the Lord’s plan for her, for us. She knew something that I clearly had yet to learn.
I went home and hugged that naughty, bratty kid of mine.
And I’ve spent the last four days trying to figure out how to learn that lesson without having to go through all the pain. I’d like to stay married and appreciate my children. I’d like to be smart enough to learn from others’ pain, but I’m not sure if I am.
How do I really learn from others? How do I make it stick? My brain appears to be covered in Teflon — Nothing sticks to it. Oh, sure, I can have a couple of good days, but pretty soon and in spite of my best efforts, someone tips me over slightly, and all the great things I’ve just learned slide right out — right into the trash. I need to be cast iron. Everything sticks to that stuff.