“The oven was on this morning.”
That statement alone seems pretty basic. Not much behind it. It’s just a statement about a certain circumstance at a certain time.
“The oven was on this morning because I never turned it off after I baked chicken LAST NIGHT.”
Now that’s something entirely more than just a statement. That’s a terrifying circumstance that I happened across yesterday morning as I was fixing my husband’s lunch for the day. I pulled out a homemade protein bar from its baking dish, which was being stored on top of the stove. I found it particularly odd that the bottom of the bar was warm, at which time I noticed the oven knob still turned to 350 degrees--precisely where I had set it the night before. That’s the not the first time I’ve left the oven on. But it’s definitely the longest it’s been left on without me or my husband noticing.
Can we follow the above statement with “...and we’re freakin’ lucky to still be alive!!!”?
Not a great start to my Tuesday morning. The day proceeded with a baby who simply wanted to be held, unless I was okay with infinitely prolonged life-or-death screaming. It included a list of to-do’s that got half-finished. I’m not talking about the list being halfway completed. I mean that each item on the list only got about halfway done. I literally stepped out of my house with the vacuum cleaner peacefully resting in the very middle of my living room, chord strewn out and all. I was even halfway to plugging it in.
And I managed to be late to every engagement I had for the day. Not just a few minutes late. No, like 30 minutes…
I arrived at my friend’s wedding dress fitting incredibly late. Made later by the necessity of changing a poopy diaper, and the battle of redressing a squirmy, twisting, baby boy. And during that dear friend’s wedding dress fitting, that same baby cried almost constantly from being so overwhelmingly tired, but resistant to sleep. Guess what, baby. Mommy is tired too, but she’s not resisting sleep. No. NO. Sleep is resisting her. Please baby, take the sleep while you can. Because one day, you won’t be given the choice…
That to-do list I mentioned above, well, it was one I wanted completed so that my husband and I could enjoy a much needed date night. I wanted everything done so that the night would be free. Knowing that it wasn’t completed, I had dreams and visions on my journey home from the fitting that my husband would see the vacuum cleaner in the middle of the living room and just know. That he would know there was some work to be done before date night. That he would know I had a rough day and would therefore lighten my burdens with some housework. I dreamed of him standing in front of the kitchen sink, washing the last of the dishes, with dinner prepared and sitting on the table, ready for our date night to begin as soon as the baby was dropped off with the sitter.
I returned home to that vacuum cleaner sitting right where I left it.
Nothing was done. Other than some napping by my also very tired husband (people, baby teething is a b*tch...for EVERYONE). The dishes were just as I left them. The laundry was just as I left it. Topping it off was what would normally be a pretty minor fault, but since we’re on a fairly strict budget, it seemed pretty major: I forgot to the return the Redbox movie. Not just one night. Nope. Three nights. Three nights of charges. Woohoo…
I’m not battling with loneliness as much these past couple of weeks. But I am battling this idea that I’m a failure. As a mom. As a wife. As a homemaker. As a business woman. As a bridesmaid. As a friend. As a person desiring health and exercise. The list goes on.
On a day when maybe I don’t meet the standards in maybe one or two areas, I can usually come back from it. I can reason with myself. Tell the devil to go f*** himself (it’s okay, my husband basically gave me permission to use profanity when addressing the devil), and remind myself of the truth that my flaws and shortcomings are still beautiful in the eyes of the Lord. When that thought “You’re a failure” pops up, I can let it be fleeting.
But when that thought pops up repeatedly in the same day, because there are repeated real-life instances that cause it to pop up, it starts to get very hard not to see it as the truth. It gets very hard to reason with myself, to send the devil on his way, and to hold on to the truth of the identity I have in the Lord. That thought is no longer fleeting because IT KEEPS COMING BACK.
And by golly, it kept coming back on this Tuesday.
There were tears by the end of the night. But you know what else there was? There was a good long, heartfelt conversation between my husband and I. There was honesty, encouragement, support, and realignment with the truth of who I am as a mother, wife, etc. For the first time in a long time, I sat there actually choosing my words carefully, assessing what really took place during the day and taking control of my emotions, rather than letting them stampede over my husband. There was, once again, hope. There was a beautiful moment to cap off a terrible day. Which in my book, made that day a pretty good one…
There was also frozen yogurt and clean dishes by the end of night--the MOST beautiful part of it all.
If you’re anything like me, you have some bad days. Okay, maybe some horrifically terrible days. I want to challenge you (along with myself) to look for the beautiful parts in those days. To look for the lessons that can be learned, the opportunities to take control of your emotions and attitudes, and the relationships that can be deepened through conversation about the struggles you’re facing. I strongly believe that any negative situation can shine rays of positivity. In other words, there can always be good in the midst of the bad. I long to be able to look for that “good” while I’m in the midst of the “bad.” I want to be able to peacefully endure those bad moments and say, “It’s okay, Heather. At the end of this, there is something beautifully good.” Honestly, I’m not even close yet...But I’m going to try. Would you like to too?
One last thing. I had ONE bad day. In the middle of a fairly decent amount of good ones. I started one day with the oven still turned on from the night before. But almost EVERY morning, I start the day with my baby boy smiling lovingly at me, his mama.
Hold on to those good days, those good moments. Especially when things get bad. Let the bad be fleeting, while the good is lasting. Just like an oven when you’re done baking, those bad moments, feelings and thoughts need to be turned off.
Unless you’re good with your house catching fire, or your sanity doing the same…