You know some introspection is in order when:
… the day begins with a failed attempt to exercise. Nothing like walking out the door, making it to the end of the sidewalk, feeling some very light sprinkles hit your face (most likely the result of a cool breeze swaying the overhead tree and dislodging droplets left over from the previous night’s rain) and deciding to call it quits.
… the words, “Whatever you dish to me is coming right back your way” directed at her emotional 14-year-old cross a mother’s lips. Especially when the dishing is an immature sassy attitude that just might have included an extra dash of ignoring for good measure.
… a certain hand reaches in to grab a large handful of chips from an open Cool Ranch Dorito bag … because it’s open. And when said hand sneaks back for a couple more large grabs since the chip barrier had been crossed. Because with the barrier shattered, a mom might as well wallow in full chipdom.
… a super cute little kid begging his mother to come play Mexican Train is put off not once, or even twice, but three times (because three must be a magic number) with the phrase, “Honey, in a minute. I just want to watch this.” Especially when “this” is a recorded episode of American Idol.
… another kid is zipped mid-sentence of telling her mother about her plan for the paper she’s writing in school the next day. She was doing such a lovely job describing the subject of her essay – an imagined kingdom where a castle sits atop the convergence of four quadrants that match the seasons of the year. After she excitedly shared how citizens can travel by train from season to season, she started to tell me about what each season offered. Then she asked for my help, “I can’t think of what to put in Spring. I know Spring has flowers… but that’s about all I’ve got.” Then the phone rang. And yes … I said these words, “Oh, honey. Hold that thought. I need to grab this.” Which I did. And she left the room.
I think I will stop there, though I could actually continue (ugh!).
Enter perspective. Because at the end of that lovely day, I didn’t feel so good – not only physically, but emotionally. I had given into every self-gratification impulse I had. Okay, maybe not “every” impulse, but plenty of them.
But, even in all the glory of repressed teenage immaturity and self-satisfying gluttony, all was not lost. Not all of my day was a selfish/immature bust. I did drive a field trip to the planetarium to the delight of my 4th grader. We made it to the grocery store – where a kid helped me gather goods. I didn’t run out of gas thanks to a heads up shotgun passenger who not only sounded the alert (I was completely oblivious) but also jumped on the chance to fill the tank.
But, I still woke up thinking about the previous day and was moved to gratefulness. So grateful that I can go to the Lord with an honest assessment. “You know I kind of blew it yesterday” and get perspective. Then get to they “why” behind it all. I need to start off my day with exercise. Why? Is it to look good? Not so much. That can be its own kind of prison. No, for me I know I’m loaded down with stress – even if I can’t see it or point to it. Running removes so much of it from my plate. As does eating right. I never bag handle a load of Doritos. What was up with that? I don’t know, but I sure didn’t feel great after it. And the squares of super yummy espresso chocolate as a chaser didn’t much help either.
After assessing (some might call confessing :)… what can one do but follow up with a load of thankful praise that I’m not a slave to any of that. It made my apologies not only incredibly easy, but heartfelt and worthy of lesson sharing. And what a lovely place to begin the day with my kids.
It wasn’t all a bust. It never is or has to be.
After my run this morning (no droplet was going to deter me today!), I raced upstairs to make sure everyone was up. Thrilled to land on my paper-writing kid, I excitedly shared what was on my mind, “Honey, I’ve got another thing for the Spring region of your kingdom!”
“Huh…?” she sleep-stupor muttered.
“The Spring part of your kingdom,” I continue while she’s trying to figure out which way is up. “Honey … Spring is a fresh start. A do-over. New growth. It’s a new day!”
Yes. Spring is a fresh start. As is another day … or even in the middle of the day. Who say’s we have to be perfect? No one. So here’s to fresh starts. I’m sure grateful for them. And, I hope I never forget they’re available – even in Winter.
Thanks for walking this crazy, fresh-start filled road with me.