We just had a massive meltdown. Actually, all day has been full of meltdowns. Floyd doesn’t handle all the passing around he has to endure every week. One night with mom. One night with dad. Five nights with Sally. Sometimes two nights with mom for holidays. Sometimes, we don’t hear from either of them for a week or two, so they don’t have to leave home at all, which is great and consistent for everyone. But, this week, Floyd had to go to mom’s for two days and then dad’s for one. And he has melted down so many times; screaming things that make no sense, and freaking out about a bag of cheetoh’s; you would have thought I was stabbing the child. Instead, we sat in the island of the parking lot, rocking bag and forth. Him screaming, me whispering “‘I know, I know, I know” and kissing his forehead. This was a deep moment of realization and redemption for me. You see, compassion does not come naturally. I have the whole “Get up and stop crying” mentality. So, that’s how I’ve responded all day-in frustration and discipline, blinding myself to the root of the issue, because, honestly, it is much harder to deal with the root of the issue than just letting yourself get ticked off. But God was faithful to bring me to that point of desperation so that I could realize the heartbreak that was leaking out with the tantrum tears.
But then, after hours of calmness, the waters were shaken again. We have a San Bernablablabla fourth grade project that’s goal is to have a family murder each other by the end of the week. Not entirely true–but it feels that way at the moment. A nine year doesn’t want to research and put things in their own words, and I don’t want to teach a nine year old something that I just got the hang of when I was graduating college. But it’s got to be done. So he storms into his room, screaming. I mean SCREAMING about how I sent him to his room without a timer. I think the neighbors must think I am beating Clark to the ground with a timer, when he was actually just in his room, by himself, wanting his egg timer, because, Lord forbid he sit in his room for an extra two minutes.
I sit on the couch and pray. I prayed that familiar prayer of “God, please help me. I don’t know what to do.”
I open my eyes to the sound of a creaking door and little footsteps. He’s ready to continue. We go back to the table and get back to work. I sneak away to look at how my friends in India are holding up.
Now, it’s my turn for a tantrum. An internal groaning and whining because I am not where I want to be. I am not doing what I want to do; and it shows so much more often than I would like it to. I wish I could wake up everyday with a smile on my face and an excitement to face the challenges that are promised with every hour. Instead, I am tired. I am exhausted. And, honestly, the kids aren’t the only things causing this–I am exhausting myself. I am constantly fighting the death that needs to happen to experience true life. I am fighting to keep little pieces of me alive-pieces that need to fall into the dirt so that beauty can grow.
And as I look at the pictures and videos of the life I had promised myself, the life of adventure, and foreign countries, I am tempted to grow bitter and pout until I get what I want. But the truth is, I may never step foot into another foreign country again. My feet may never kiss the dirt of India ever again. And I have to choose a road. I have to choose bitter or better. I want to choose bitter. To be angry, and to curl up in a ball and let the television raise these boys. Instead, I will choose better. I will choose to share my love for India with them. To share the stories of my days traveling and spreading Jesus. And maybe, as I share with them how Jesus would shine while I was there, they will begin to see Jesus shine here, around our kitchen table.
I will choose the sweetness of the season.