If I had gotten what I deserved from my family tonight, it would have been this:
Sparrow would have packed a small bag of her most precious belongings (pink blankie, sequined skirt, crayons, sketch pad, Walkman [yes, our daughter has a Sony Walkman] and her cassette tapes, the most critical being Jack Pearson’s Fax Yourself to Jesus and the Mary Poppins Soundtrack) and announced, meekly, that she would be moving in with the neighbors. Because, according to my actions and words, her presence was no longer desired in our household.
Andy would have looked right at me and told me to ‘shut up.’ Then, he would have drug me off to the bathroom, thrown me in the shower and turned it on full-cold, full-blast. League of Their Own style. And I would have deserved it.
Because I was raging around the house, yelling at Sparrow to be quiet and stop being annoying. And I was raging around the house, yelling at Andy because you just don’t understand what its like and you get to extol wisdom then escape to the garage, leaving me to deal with this, said emphatically and with a gesture of my hand that indicated everything and everyone in our house.
Then I chopped the carrots really, really hard and really, really fast. And I had irrational thoughts like ‘if I cut off a finger doing this, Andy will feel pity for me and he’ll take the blame for making me so mad. He’ll rush me to the hospital and tell the ER doc that it’s all his fault…he could’ve been a better husband.’
Then I slammed cupboard doors and silverware drawers and toaster levers. I barked at Sparrow to set the table now and I scowled at Andy and kicked the dog because he was in between me and the fridge and…
I could go on. For a long time. And it wouldn’t be pretty. Because I was acting really, really ugly.
And here’s the ugliest part.
I was acting like this because Caleb River, sweetest 3-month old to ever grace the planet, had taken a short nap. And because I’d felt compelled to wash the dishes first, hadn’t gotten to take a shower before he woke up.
Give a girl a real reason to rage and she’ll rage.
Friends, if you’ve ever wondered how wretched I am, let me help you wonder no more: I am among the most wretched of the wretched.
So you see now why I would’ve deserved the afore mentioned responses.
Instead, my family, in the aftermath of my earthquake, did this:
After setting the table, Sparrow asked for two pieces of orange paper (which I gave to her with scorn in my voice and anger in my movements). While I pulverized garlic, she made a crown with little red construction paper diamonds. She covered my chair with a beautiful cloth and transformed pink blankie into a robe. All the while, she kept saying “Don’t look at what I’m doing Mama. It’s a surprise to make you feel better.”
While bowls of chicken dumpling soup sat on the table, steaming like the woman who’d made them, my daughter crowned me queen.
And when dinner was finished, my husband retro-fitted the bathroom with calm lighting and drew me a bath. While I soaked in a wildly undeserved tub of hot, bubble-filled water, he read to Sparrow and put her to bed.
And what did Caleb do? He slept because, like Andy had (wisely) said earlier “I’m sure our son will sleep again.”
Here’s to grace, lavishly displayed and peace, passed without judgement. Here’s to Christ, even in my midst.
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:10-12