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The Great I Am

If you’re like me, first let me say, “Sorry. It must suck being you.” Oh, I’m just kidding! I am incredibly and undeservedly blessed in so many ways. What I mean is, I am my own biggest enemy sometimes; especially when it comes to my arch nemesis — time management. I don’t know why I procrastinate so much or why I simply forget things altogether. Some would say that this is a form of passive-aggressiveness. You know, kinda like sarcasm. Eh, what do they know?

If you read the comments section from a couple of days ago, you may have read that I was taking a 6 hour defensive driving course online. The comment was posted on December 23. If I didn’t get the completion certificate to the court “on or before December 25”, there would be a warrant out for my arrest. Since the courthouse is closed on December 25, obviously I was cutting it a bit short. Federal Express must love people like me! The early part of my Christmas Eve was spent: A) pacing back and forth by my front door then, B) racing to the courthouse (30 minutes away) before they closed, according to the lady on the phone “in the next 30 to 45 minutes”. I literally made it there as they were shutting down the office.

I am street legal, but at what cost? I’m not talking about what it cost me to have the driving school fedex the certificate to me “top priority, morning delivery” on Christmas Eve. I’m talking about the cost to my family. I bolted out of bed the morning of the 23rd at 3:30 a.m. realizing I had forgotten all about the ticket. So, I splashed water on my face, brushed my teeth, found the school online, and immediately started the course. My husband had to go into the office, so my poor kids had to put up with a tired, stressed out, mean mom who didn’t have time to spend time with them on Christmas Eve eve. They were excited about Christmas and all I did was yell at them to stop being so loud and complain about how inconsiderate they were being to me. Yeah, right. Whose fault was it that their mom was being a bee-atch? They certainly had nothing to do with it. They just wanted to hang out and have fun.

After finishing the test, I tried to lay down for a few minutes. I was mentally and physically exhausted, but I could not wind down. Then I remembered I had forgotten to get my son a flu shot. Incidentally, if you haven’t had one you might want to consider doing so. My GP said that the strains this year are pretty wicked.

Anyway, my daughter wanted to come with, because she wanted to see her brother get a shot. By the time we had waited in the Redi Clinic at the local grocery store for 30 minutes, got the shot and picked up a couple of things at the store, it was dinner time. There’s a Denny’s across the street that also has a to-go menu. So I dragged my tired, grumpy, fed up self and my kids over there to get something to eat. As kids will do, they acted up when my patience was at an all time low. I snapped at them for things I usually would have ignored.

The manager handed me some menus, offered my kids some balloons, and asked how I was doing. It was fairly obvious that I was not doing too well, but I thought it was very nice for him to ask. We ordered our food and waited. He offered to get us all something to drink. When I told him “No, thank you.” He insisted — his treat. I still refused, but he brought my kids drinks. He shared a story with me about a woman he and his wife saw at the mall last Christmas Eve. About how she was terribly stressed out and ended up falling down, dropping all her packages and hurting herself. He shared with me how he felt bad that he had not helped her. At this point I’m thinking to myself, “Wow. I really need to get some perspective here. It’s 2 days before Christmas and I’m running around acting like the Grinch.” Our food came. He apologized for the wait, even though the food came out promptly. He wished all of us a Merry Christmas. I wished him the same, and I really meant it.

On the drive home, I asked my kids if we could play “the quiet game”. (One of my personal favorites when riding in the car with them.) I thought about what had just happened. About how I claim to live a life abiding in Jesus, and I can’t even minister to my own kids sometimes. That man’s kindness was like a sledgehammer crashing through my armor. It broke me. We got home, I set the food on the kitchen counter and told my family to start without me. I went into my closet, fell to my knees and thanked God for His mercy, asked Him to forgive my selfishness and short temper. I also thanked him for that kind soul who took the time to minister to me when I needed it. At dinner, I apologized to my kids for being such a grouch. I still had a few last minute things to do on Christmas Eve, but I didn’t stress about anything and I just feel grateful for what Christmas is about; not what we sometimes try to make it about.

Tomorrow, I’m going to go to Denny’s. I want to thank that man in person. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t even catch his name. Isn’t it funny that it takes a random act of kindness by a complete stranger to put me back on the path where I need to go? My God is everything I need and yet sometimes I find myself wandering far away from Him.

I heard this song on TV later that evening. It’s one of my favorites. Hearing this song, on that night was also a gift. (While the images are beautiful, I chose to close my eyes and just listen to the words.) If you’ve had days or weeks or even years where you’ve felt overwhelmed and and under-joyed, I pray that this song will remind you that He is always near. God Bless You and Merry Christmas!