Monday, October 7, 2013


In honor of being real.

Needy family moving to town, in need of bed and dresser.

There I was, in church, looking over the bulletin.  And a giant green monster rose up inside me.  The green monster of... bitterness.  Wait, green monster is supposed to be jealousy you say?  Well, sometimes behind that jealousy is a root of bitterness.

Why should they get something for free?  What qualifies them as needy?  We only have an air mattress.  No dresser.  Why should someone give them what we're living without?

Bitterness.  I've seen what it can do.  It's a blackness that can creep through families and destroy.  It can suck the joy out of life.  It can bring gloom that lasts longer than any unending winter.  It seeps through your body and infects your mind and your heart.  And then it finds its way out of your mouth.

In our small group, we spoke of the calling of the first disciples.  How Jesus called them to follow Him, and they immediately left their boats and everything and followed.  And we were asked what that must have been like.

Leaving everything is hard.  I didn't leave everything.  I left most things.  And some days, it angers me.  It irritates me when I have nowhere to put clean clothes because we left our nice dressers behind.  It makes me upset that I sleep on the couch because I can't sleep on an air mattress with another person.  It frustrates me that one of us has to sit on a step stool for dinner because we left our table and chairs behind, and I could only afford to buy a card table with two chairs, and a booster seat is tied to one of them.  And the laundry baskets.  That part makes me mad.  It makes me irate.  It makes me see red.  I had a lovely laundry organizer, and two hip baskets, and two baskets for diapers and kids clothes, and a convenient bathroom hamper, and a pretty hamper. And we didn't bring them. Now, I have a college style mesh hamper that is impossible to carry one-handed and is falling apart because it's not big enough for a family of four.

At this point, we've been without most of the stuff in our UBox so long that I don't even remember what's in there.  Except I know that everything I've mentioned above is not in there.

And I find myself focusing on what I don't have.  What I used to have, and no longer have.  What I'm having to spend money to replace.  Used to, I could say to myself, you really don't need anything right now.  It'd be nice to have some decorations, and pictures on the walls, and a centerpiece, and some wreaths, and a new couch, but you don't need them.

But let's be honest.  Laundry hampers are just about a need.  If you don't have them, I'm not sure how you're supposed to deal with four people's dirty laundry.  It's driving me crazy.  "Honey I need whites done."  "Well, where are your whites?"  "I don't know."  "Well, I'm not going through that explosion of a room in there.  If you want your laundry done, you have to get it to me."

Yeah, that's not good for marriage.

And of all things, the sermon was on peace.  He started off with the example of wondering where peace is in the midst of kids going crazy around you.  And then he gave several other examples of where peace can be lacking.  I identified with almost every one of them.  Money.  Family relationships.  The state of the nation.  How to parent our kids.  Common stressors.

So how do I go from the seeds of bitterness to having peace?  Because I don't believe peace is a Pollyanna attitude.  It's not a stick your head in the sand either.  It's not denial.  It's deeper than all that.  And as the sermon title said, I don't get it.

Some days, I do.  I think I've documented some of those days on this blog.  But right now... yeah.  I'm not there.  I'm not sure where I am, but it's a long way from the smooth waters of peace.  As I said in small group when asked if we were in the boat with Jesus, or on the shore trying to figure out what He's talking about, I asked can we be in the sea?  Somewhere between the boat and the shore?  Drowning? Cause that's where I'm at.

No ending this blog post with some cheerful thought or spiritual insight.  Just being completely, honestly real.  

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