Thursday, April 19, 2018

It is All Grace, Whether I Know it or Not

We all have prayers we pray, for good things, things we think we want, even know we want, which we don't receive. The job I'd hoped for but didn't get, was going to sting longer than I wanted. My brain worked through the problem. "Maybe it's better." My heart pouted, "At 51, I'm still in a high school and still, despite my best efforts, despite doing everything asked of me, I can't get off the bench of the frigging b-team." Dwelling on it for too long brought tears, so I steeled myself to safely transverse the distance to my car without making a scene. The whole time, my inside screamed. Explaining away my feelings, I told myself and told myself and told myself it's no big deal.
I suppose it's good to know, I'm not as good at lying to myself as I thought. "I wanted that job." I admit. Yes. The reality of the "No," even though I said all the reasonable important correct polite gracious things at the time makes it hard to think, what to do next?
Needing to take my mind off my disappointment and not feeling up to facing people just yet, I took to the gym after work, but even the mindless anonymous nature of the multiple machines with multiple screens didn't feel private enough. Upstairs in the dance room, I put on my favorite music and tried to kickbox until all I'd feel was the soreness of my arms. The room has mirrors everywhere. It's been a while since I saw myself, and as I work out, it's there from every angle, how much I haven't done, and how much of me I have. The music can't quite lift me out of the mood, because there's more of me to lift.
I tell myself, it's not important and it feels like I have to say it about everything. "Progress, not perfection,"and "fake it until you make it" don't seem to hold the charm they once did. They feel like dusty cliches rather than the keys to success. I punch harder but only for a little while. The will to will through things, it's out of practice too.
Tuesdays hold a lot on the schedule, three kids with track at two different fields at two different times, one kid with band, two with CCD and I teach. No one showed for my class, which made sense.  They'd received the sacraments, so the class afterwards felt like an afterthought.  In the hour of waiting, with all that time, I brooded. Not the best way to stay distracted by a long shot. After outlining the lesson on the white board, I grabbed a DVD player and watched a film on the Eucharist, a sharp reminder, mine are little problems, and this while painful, was not horrible, just disappointing.  It's embarrassing to recognize, I'm not good at suffering, not even a little.
Driving home, I kept changing the radio, anything to keep my brain humming along, singing anything, but the DJ's on the air didn't help out. We got home and made boiled hot dogs, brocolli, sliced apples, and chili-cheese onion enchilladas. The clock on the wall needs a new battery, so I belatedly discover, it's 8:30 before I can guarantee more than half have eaten, and 9:30 before everyone is finished.
Those who ran needed showers. "The day just won't end." I thought.  I'd wanted to read to my kids, but one forgot to do her homework, such that every time I tried to do something else, she'd call out for help. By the time she settled, the window for reading to them and my patience, had passed. In the back of my head with each failure, either on the scale or in life, I heard the whisper, "See, you couldn't have." I noted how two daughters took themselves off to bed without me getting to say good night.  Not seeing them feels like a failure. Not wanting to see them because I'd like to not do any more, feels like a bigger one.
"Do the extra." I hear in my heart, and that beaten will wants to crawl into bed. "Do the damn extra." (My concience tends to lightly swear at me when it knows it's right and I'm being stubborn for no good reason).

The smile the non-sleeping older one gave me for just coming up to say, "Good night." is a reminder, love is revealed through being wiling to serve and to suffer for the good of another. Each act of parenting we'd rather not do, is a tiny surrender, a tiny cross, and each smile, each "Thanks Mom," and each little moment we witness of a child's growth in maturity, understanding, kindness and courage, is likewise, a mirror of God's joy at our learning to sublimate ourselves.
The words, "My grace is sufficient," is a promise which I have to will to accept, or not. I know, one offers peace beyond all understanding, and the other, nothing I want. My disappointment still remains, but its effects diminish. I'm not quite at "It's all grace, " but it's getting closer.

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