Friday, October 10, 2014

That Day I Threw a Sword at the TV....or.... On Grace and Peace - Day 6

One of you dear, sweet readers asked me to write something about grace and peace.  I've been mulling that one over for a few days.  It's obvious that  those qualities are essentials when you have little ones at home...the grocery store bag-boy has seen enough of a mom of preschooler's life to be able to understand that.  The part that doesn't crystallize as easily is how to get that needful grace and peace.  No bag-boy's got advice for that one.

Hence the question.....

Out of past came a memory of one of my less-than-stellar mothering moments.....and I think it carries the answer.

Hence the title....

I was a Momma with a few years under my belt....just into my 30's.  My boys were doing well in elementary school, the twins were out of diapers and I had a red-headed baby.   Looking back I realize it was one of the times that the air of duty felt the thickest.  You know the pounding in your chest when you're fighting down the fear that you're so far in over your head that your only option is to just keep treading water and hope that your feet will hit a sandbar soon?  Yes....I felt that pounding often.  And then I wrestled through the incongruous feeling of knowing that the very thing that was causing my panic was also my greatest love and many dreams come true.  How do you find grace and peace in the middle of that churning?

One option is to throw things.

To understand the significance of this story first you need to know my baseline.  If you were to chart emotional fluctuation on a line where highs and lows varied on either side of the zero point, I am usually much closer to the Walter Cronkite line than the Lucille Ball line.  It's not that I don't have emotions or express them....it's just that they rarely hit the heights of exhilaration or depths of despair of some other temperaments.  It's just not my natural way.....and when I do feel things deeply my usual expressions are somewhat low key too.  Believe me, this style of relating has it's own set of blind spots, but something I don't usually struggle with is being a yeller.

Pull back the curtain on a very normal day in my life with 5 kids under 10.  The details have muted with time, but I clearly remember the important things.  Children were not loving each other.  I was coaching out the wazoo to no avail.  Dinner was not happening, even though minutes were ticking by and bellies were getting hungrier with each tick.  Laundry wasn't caught up.  Who knows if I had showered.  My valiant daily fight against Woe Is Me was failing, failing, failing.  Nothing big was wrong but everything little thing felt hugely wrong and I was mad that it was so hard to hold it together.

One more attempt to pick up the living room for evening family time became the last straw.  My under--the-breath muttering as I picked up toys and tossed them into the crate evolved into an ugly explosion in the brief moment that all the kids had left the room.

I picked up the huge, heavy plastic sword.....the pounding in my chest turning into panic-laced heaving....and I threw it as hard as I could.

At the TV.

While screaming,

"I HATE THIS!"

This was a massive breach of Mommy protocol for me.  I didn't just say  the H word, I YELLED it!  It felt as ugly and as big of a fail as any four letter word that could have crossed my lips.

Instead of feeling better, the moment the sword left my hand I regretted everything.  The super-fast thinking thing that happens inside your brain while life slows down outside your brain happened to me....and I petitioned God to please save me the guilt and trauma of having shattered our TV with a toy sword....of having everyone be witness to the result of my ugliness.

The sword mercifully bounced off the TV with a small clink.  Super anti-climactic....but what a relief! (I think my hazy brain was super-inflating the power of my fling.)  I thanked God for keeping my little freak out between me and Him.  And then I turned around.

The children had returned just in time for the Mommy show.

Fast forward those children to middle and high schoolers....kids I joke with and who have forgiven so many of my failures.  One day as we were bringing up stupid moments of the past to laugh at them, I said, "Remember that time I was so mad I threw the sword at the TV?!"  Crickets.  I was met with blank stares and confused looks instead of the laughter and nodding heads I expected.

"You know, the huge gray plastic sword.....Dad wasn't home yet and I was upset....."

Still nothing.

"I yelled, 'I HATE this!!'  None of you remember this??!!"  I asked, dumbfounded?

Their slowly shaking heads and furtive glaces to each other confirmed their honesty.  I couldn't believe it!  One of the moments that I was most ashamed of, was totally missing from their memories!  I had been so sure, all these years, that that memory was bound to be on their highlight reel of childhood....who could forget a show like that??  I remembered now, so clearly, that the next words out of my mouth after the H word were apologies and a whispered prayer that God would let them forget.

And that's where the lesson about grace and peace is.  There is forgiveness and forgetting for our failures.

Our quest for grace and peace toward our children is a worthy goal.....something worth striving for....but something you will fail at.  And you will fail over and over again.  Sometimes your failures will be accompanied by fireworks that your children will witness.

"Your biggest need for more grace and peace is likely not for your children, but for your own heart."

Grace and peace will never be found in a quest for perfection.....while you're comparing yourself to a wish and imagined ideal.  They will never be captured just around the corner when you learn more or become better.

Grace and peace will be most keenly felt in your mothering when you are on your knees in apology.....or defeat.....or uncertainty.  You will experience grace and peace. You will experience them as gifts from God through your children as they seem bewildered by your desire to be perfect for them.  You will experience them from God as you find sweet forgiveness and love from your children just after your biggest blunders.  Or you will experience them from God as He allows moments to skim over their consciousnesses and only become a funny thing for you to tell them about a decade later.

It's ok to be a mess sometimes.  You won't irreparably damage your children.  They will make it.....and so will you.  You don't need to work harder, be better or search deeper to find the grace and peace you're desperate for in your parenting.

Because the grace and peace....it's already there.









4 comments:

  1. Mmm... Thank you.
    Forgiving my blunders is so hard, but so necessary. I love those moments when I ask my child for forgiveness and say that I'm sorry... but I need to forgive myself.
    Words of honey to this soul. Thank you.

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  2. Wow. Thank you. It is so good to know I am not alone. Striving for better. Thankful for grace. <3

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    1. You are SO not alone!!! Keep striving Jennifer.....it's for a worthy cause!! Thanks for reading!

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