Sometimes I am not the pulled together Jesus follower you read about here in the Big Dunk.
Sometimes I am a raving maniac. This has been the case in the last couple of days. This week was Vacation Bible School for the kids. For the first time all summer, I had 3 hours a day to myself. Which should have made me more calm and focused, right? No. Instead, the pressure of having this tiny amount of free time caused me great panic. What do I do with my three hours today? Do I read a novel? (yes. And actually finished it.) Do I go grocery shopping? (no.) Do I take my car to get washed? (Yes!)
So off I trundle to the car wash place to get my car washed, waxed and detailed.
I was told that the whole operation would take an hour and a half. I sat at a counter that faced a glass wall overlooking the cleaning bay. After the first hour went by, I grew concerned that I hadn't seen my car in the bay yet. I asked at the desk and was reassured that it was being worked on outside. After two hours, I went to the manager and asked what was going on. My car wasn't anywhere to be seen and I was getting really worried about how long it was taking. Turns out, the car hadn't even been started on yet. It was out back. Abandoned. Forgotten. Still full of sand and gunky sludge that the kids had spilled on the floor. Still covered with tar and bird crap.
I started to boil over. I was loud. I got tearful. I threatened to take the keys and leave.
The manager came over and asked what he could do to make it up to me. (Nothing. You can't give me my two hours back. I can't wait a minute longer. I have to pick up my kids now. There is nothing to be done.)
He tried to make it right, really. He even offered to pick the car up and drop it off for me the next day. I tried to calm down. Then, of course, I saw the little fish on the back of my filthy car and made some attempt to be civil. And felt humbled by my rage at something as stupid as a wasted couple of hours and dirty car.
Unfortunately, the severe thunderstorms on Wednesday knocked out the power at his place, so I am still driving around with sand and bird crap.
I shared all this with Fr. P at our lunch on Thursday. About how just when I think I am getting the whole 'Christian thing' something throws me off kilter and I realize that I have a LONG way to go. He suggested that perhaps these little relapses are, in fact, gifts of grace. They remind me that I don't have to be perfect at this. They remind me that I desperately need God. They remind me that in this aspect of my life, I have the grace to allow myself to admit I suck. It is a lesson that I apparently need over and over again. And I am grateful to both God and Fr. P for helping me remember that in my weakness, I find strength.