Sunday, April 18, 2010

Considering My Joy

I was greeted yesterday morning by a clogged kitchen sink. It was one of those clogs that taunted me by draining when the disposal was running and then shooting all the nasty, murky debris filled water up the drain of the other sink. Initially, I refused to acknowledge the clog, making my morning tea and trudging with purposeful determination out of the kitchen. I think denial is a good stance when confronted with household disasters before 7:00 am. One hour later my son was up and ready for school, and happy to alert me of the “situation”.

A clogged drain wasn’t the end of the world, but yesterday I had my son’s friends coming over after school and I was preparing dinner for another family so, I really needed my sink. And I really didn’t need to be home waiting for a plumber.

Proceeding with my morning routine, I went to set out the vitamin regimen I “encourage” my children to digest each morning. I love vitamin supplements. I love that you can take a pill that has two entire servings of fruits and vegetables. I feel like such a good mother as I’m laying those babies in their designated spots for each child. My oldest daughter finally admitted she chose an out of state university to ensure that I would not be able to show up in her dorm room and lay out vitamins everyday. It was just a phase on her part; Emily, it’s your mother, take your vitamins!

In my distraction over the disgusting mess in my sink, I failed to set the mega jar of Vitamin E securely back on the shelf and when it fell, the lid popped off and it knocked another open bottle off the counter. Ugggggh! There were pills everywhere. It was so depressing. My day was heading downhill fast, and it was not yet 7:30 am. I don’t know exactly what half of “mega” is, but we lost a lot of good pills yesterday.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

Surveying the mess in my kitchen I must admit joy was the furthest thing from my mind. Scripture verses weren’t popping into my head. The Vitamin E pills were rolling around the floor and bobbing in my disgusting sink and the concept of human perfection didn’t even occur to me. Well plumbed would have sufficed.

Without being asked, my son stopped eating breakfast and helped me clean up the mess. He’s a good kid. His gesture helped me refocus my energy and outlook. I took a deep breath as I tossed a huge handful of supplements into the trash can. If I had to cook without a sink I could make it work. And 8th grade boys literally blossom in the face of gross, so the nasty sink would most likely enhance my social standing in their eyes. .

The greeting St. James chose was an unconventional way to begin a letter. It’s believed he wrote the letter to Jewish Christians living outside Palestine who were poor and oppressed. No beating around the bush, James gets right to it. God allows trials. He uses them to help us to grow, to produce endurance, which we’ll need on the journey. I would prefer a different method of teaching: maybe a nice hard bound book, or possibly an endurance enhancing supplement.

But for this morning my lesson came in the form of a trial - really just an irritation. It just felt like a trial for a few moments. And I am considering my joy. I’m appreciating that my son is growing into a thoughtful and helpful young man and my little trial gave him the opportunity to practice those virtues. I’m noticing that I’m more patient than I used to be; that little set back might have put me into a really bad mood in my younger days. I guess I am learning endurance. As for perfection, I’m a few trials shy, but if vitamin supplements can help in any way, I’m all over it!

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