Seven Quick Takes
1. Any life-long Catholic is familiar with the recommended response to suffering: You offer it up. You ask the Lord to give you the grace to bear your suffering well and to use it to remind you to pray for others in need.
I am so bad at this, so pathetically bad.
My first response to suffering is denial. I then move on to irritation. Ranting and raving fit in there somewhere, as does consuming gluttonous amounts of dark chocolate.
So here's the big break through: I successfully "offered it up" the other day. This may be a first for me. But here I am blogging about it, so I'm quite sure that negates any grace. Or maybe not.
2. This tiny, isolated victory helped me see just how whiny I really am. Case in point: We have a major traffic artery near our neighborhood that is under perpetual construction. Dysfunction Junction, I call it. I was leaving Walmart the other day with a van full of cold weather gear (hiking boots, hand and foot warmers, gloves, long underwear) for the twenty-five mile, cold weather hike my oldest son was embarking on, only, see, the whole adventure had been cancelled Monday night, but did anyone bother to inform the Logistics Manager (that would be me)? Oh, no, no, no.
But I digress. Because I'm really whining about traffic, not about Scout gear or poor communication. Traffic. Back to it.
So I left Walmart with a pile of useless items and hit the snag of all snags. As a bird flies, Walmart is about a mile from my house. Usually the drive is well under ten minutes. Not so when five lanes of traffic merge into what is surely a small and meandering sheep path hardly wide enough to fit John and Ainsley on their scooters.
Twenty-five minutes to get home. Twenty-five minutes.
The really good news? I get to go return the unused hiking equipment and perhaps hit the path all over again.
3. So that's Whine #1. Whine #2 involved a near collision due to faulty judgment on my part. See, if I'm turning left, and I see you coming down the road and slowing down and signalling that you're going to turn right, I assume (incorrectly, it turns out) that you are, in fact, going to turn right. And I just might pull out to turn in right behind you. But, no, you are busy talking on your phone and begin your right turn only to come to a complete. and. total. stop. in the middle of the entrance because, gosh, it's hard to talk and turn at the same time and, I don't know, maybe you were juggling hot coffee and an Egg McMuffin at the same time.
I'm relieved to be in one piece and never again will assume that the turn signal and the beginning of a turn will, in fact, be followed by an actual turn.
4. Whine #3 involves telephone solicitors who seem to know far more details about my life than my mother does. A typical exchange:
Me: Hello, God bless you.
Well-informed telephone solicitor: Hello, Mrs. Dolin. Are you still at (correct address) and enjoying the Astronomy Club, redoing your house, and celebrating your son's 16th birthday?
I instantly regret saying "Hello, God bless you". I fight the urge to open the back of the phone and search for bugs. I somehow manage to disengage from the conversation without uttering bad words.
5. I recently received a bottle of Excedrin for Migraines in the mail. Gosh, I was thrilled. Who doesn't like getting a package in the mail? Eventually it dawned on me that this wasn't a random event, a mass mailing that happened to hit my Zip code. Someone is tracking my spending habits. Note to that someone: I could use a few Starbuck's coupons ASAP.
I guess that's Whine #4.
6. Number 5 is a doozy. I've never had a true laundry disaster until Monday when I found a black ink pen in the dryer. Oh my. The bright spot was that the rather large load that absorbed the ink didn't include a) uniforms or b) Dave's dress clothes.
What a mess.
I hit the Internet in search of solutions, none of which seemed to work. Bleach? Didn't touch the ink. Nail polish remover? Nope. Finally I took bleach soaked rags and ran them through the dryer on high. I'd say 90% of the ink was gone in twenty minutes. The clothes have not bounced back quite so well. Apparently rubbing alcohol is the ticket. We'll see.
Search those pockets! Painful lesson learned.
7. In the midst of the busiest week of Fall Fare preparations, one of our team members shared a beautiful scripture: Let not your hearts be troubled. If you're having a tough time, the tenth chapter of John will get your eyes off the things of the world. Just typing those words helps me refocus.
Ainsley is obsessed with photo albums these days. She loves to pour over the four-hundred-fifty-two pictures we shot at her birth.
"Oh, I was such a cute baby," she gushes before moving into a whine of her own, "and we gave away every. single. one. of my baby clothes!"
That's not precisely true, so we spent some time yesterday pulling out the keepers -- tiny onesies, newborn diapers that appear far too small for humans, Ainsley's beautiful Christmas dress, Tim's well worn navy blue Keds, John's cowboy jammies. Oh, did she have fun! Ainsley's Madeline doll, I'm sad to report, was forced into a diaper. Ainsley was nice enough to pair it with teeny-tiny ruby slippers, so maybe Madeline will recover from the indignity.
Life is full of its frustrations, but most of the time, it's simply full. For that, I'm grateful.
One of the children in my atrium -- I'll call him Max -- is in Texas this morning for significant hip surgery that involves cutting some tendons among other interventions. Max suffered a brain injury at birth. He is one of the sweetest souls I've ever known, both a light and a delight.
Please pray for a successful surgery, for protection from complications, for Max to tolerate the anesthesia, and for peace for his entire family.
Head over to Jen's to add your Quick Takes. And have a great weekend!