Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Cranky - ME? Naw.....
So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. - 1 Thessalonians 5:6
There's not a person alive who hasn't felt anger and frustration. It comes in many forms, and when it hits us the ultimate result is cranky. The edges of our mouth turn down, we scowl, furrow our brow, snort, sigh and of course, there's the old, slam things around thing. One way or the other we manage to let others know we're in a less than pleasant mood.
I've been sick recently, and though I've tried my best to maintain a decent attitude, the fact is, I've felt horrible. Illness makes even the strongest soul a bit sour. So when my disabled son came bounding in the house from work, slamming the door behind him and knocking over things without a second thought, my first inclination was to snap at him. "Hey - slow down. Take it easy. You act like you have something to hide." Though I said it in a joking manner, deep down inside, I was a bit frustrated.
Up the steps he went saying, "Sorrrrryyyy!" I gave a snort and shook my head as a smile broke through the agitation. He wasn't the least bit sorry, but he made the effort to apologize for rushing through the house like a bull in a China shop. Within minutes he's standing next to me, goofy grin (you know, the one that proves you're the cat that ate the bird), and this is what he says. "Mom, I got something for you."
I was a bit stunned. "I got this for you at work, just because I'm proud of you."
Okay, so now I'm feeling really cruddy for being cranky with him. From behind his back, he brings this beautiful basket full of bath products. Tears filled my eyes as I sat staring at this wonderful act of kindness. From the depths of his heart came this tender, sweet, and thoughtful gift. Outside of the obvious guilt, my heart melted and I was shamed. He sat the gift in my lap, kissed me on the cheek, and trailed off into another room. I had to call him back to thank him. I wrapped my arms around him and squeezed. How fortunate am I? Within minutes, I found myself alone and holding this beautiful gift and feeling oh, so blessed. Suddenly I understood what finding favor with God meant.
So, I leaned back in the recliner and looked toward the couch. "You there, Father?"
"Oh yeah, I'm here. Wouldn't have missed this one for the world."
"That was the sweetest thing."
"Indeed. Acts of kindness are always sweet. They're from the spirit. Inspired on a whim for those who need a boost."
"You're saying this is a bandaid?"
"Kinda. Sometimes we lose control of our perspective and we need to be jolted back on track. Sometimes we draw within ourselves and forget the attitude others see. We become self-absorbed."
"Great! Now you're telling me I'm selfish."
"No. Don't put words in my mouth. I'm telling you, we all get a bit testy at times, but it's our job to be aware - to pay attention. Be alert and self-controlled so that others do not pay the price for our misdirection."
"How lucky am I?" I asked.
The Father pulled the curtain back from the window and replied. "So fortunate. Now what will you do with the fortune you've been given?"
"That's a start. Others need to be loved as well."
"You're telling me to love the cranky?"
"The Father laughed. "I'm telling you, love the cranky and everyone in between because you are fortunate to have been loved."
Okay, so I look at feeling bad in a whole new light. I am responsible, even when I feel bad, for maintaining the face of Christ. My attitude sets the pace for the family's attitude. The next time I feel cranky, I'll remember this gentle reminder - this gift of kindness, one given for no other reason, than to make me smile.