Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Groundhog Day

I woke up this morning and I didn't want to get out of bed. I don't want to get out of bed most mornings because a) I'm not a morning person, b) it's winter in Chicago, which equals warm in bed, cold everywhere else and c) I go to sleep too late and I'm tired when the alarm goes off.

I know people who have "body clocks" and they wake up by a certain time every day regardless of when they've gone to bed. I'm not equipped with this particular mechanism and have been known to sleep through alarms ringing next to my head if I know they're not for me.

I soon realized it was Tuesday and therefore a day when I had to get myself ready for work and three kids ready for school so in an effort to focus and encourage myself I said aloud "This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24) Off to the shower I went.

Things went fairly smoothly after that until Maggie woke up. Maggie, a chip off the old block, isn't a morning person either. And in her defense she's still recovering from the whole "staples in the head" deal, so I try to cut her some slack while making lunches. There's about 20 minutes left before the twins have to catch their bus and Maggie decides she wants to wear a certain outfit. She has the top, but the pants are in the washer, clean but not dried. I figure, I can throw them in on high heat with a towel and we should be golden - so I do. With 5 minutes to spare I give her the now dried pants and she asks where the matching vest is. I thought she had it on. It's still in the washer. I tell her "too late". She spills something on her top. Now I'm in rush mode - change the shirt, get on the 10,000 layers of clothing required to protect us from the ONE DEGREE temperature outside - make sure you have all your "Tuesday" stuff, i.e. gym shoes, etc. and LET'S GO! She emerges in a new shirt and gets her coat on. She says "I HATE this morning." I tell her "This is the day the Lord has made - we're supposed to be glad and rejoice in it." She gives me a look.

We cram into the car and I begin to back out and catch the bus in the rearview mirror so I get down the drive as quickly as possible, speed around the corner and pull up behind the bus. The 17 children who get on at our stop (I am not exaggerating) are still climbing on as Ryan and Maggie get out of the car and I notice she has no hat, no gloves, no scarf and no snowpants (although I asked her repeatedly to gather all these things while putting on makeup in another room). I am now extremely angry. I get out of the car, pull off my leather gloves run up to a neighbor who passes them on to her like some relay race hand-off and announce I would like to put her through a window. Nice Christian witness. So much for rejoicing in the Lord's day.

As I drive to work I put on WMBI - Moody Bible Institute's radio station and they're announcing the weather and the fact that Pauxatawny Phil (or whatever the gopher's name is) has just seen his shadow and we're in for 6 more weeks of winter. That's fabulous - more snow and frigid temperatures. I do smile as I think of Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day and then I laugh out loud as I imagine his reporting day after day on the extended winter news (it's really worth renting if you've never seen it). But it's Founder's Week at Moody, so as soon as the weather is over they have Dr. Michael Easley on the show and he's talking about how we fall into the trap of doing things because we think we should, and checking stuff off our lists and other sorts of "going through the motions" activities and how he recently heard something profound and quotes "Maturity is turning discipline into reflex".

I am stunned.

I start considering how my reflex with Maggie 10 minutes earlier was anger instead of compassion or patience.

From the moment the kids had gotten out of the car, I had been planning a conversation on responsibility when I got home. Originally it was only going to be about their need to accept more responsibility and that did end up being part of the talk when we all got home, but we also prayed together and I had to consider taking responsibility for my own behavior.

I talked to my neighbor before the bus got home and apologized for ranting and raving and badmouthing my child. I determined that we would all be more organized and make efforts to prepare better for the day. But mostly I decided to rejoice in this day the Lord made and thanked Him for a valuable lesson in a cold and weary season.

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