A few days ago, E and I ventured to my Mom's house a few hours away for a quick overnight visit. I was on the hunt for a cheap hutch to repaint and put in my "dining nook" as we are in dire need of more storage, and I was looking forward to a nice day of hanging out with my sister. I had just read this post by my lovely friend, and I was already mentally preparing myself for lots of travel coming our way this week and next. My scripture reading that morning also happened to center on peace and choosing to live in peace with one's circumstances. I was going to have and maintain a good attitude despite the exhaustion of travel (and being 7 months pregnant...in the summer), I was going to put myself in my little daughter's shoes and try to make her comfortable and happy and secure despite this week of being constantly on the move, and I was going to not let myself stress out. Not sure about you, but I've learned that the more I stress about the "off-ness" of a travel schedule, the less fun I end up having.
Anyway, so that was my plan.
And...sometimes I think God just really likes to see how committed we are to our plans...
E and I were supposed to hop in the car and go as soon as she woke up that morning, but the night before, my Mom called to say that her A/C was not working in the house. No bueno. Did I mention I've taken to sweating like a man-beast as I gestate under a relentless and unmerciful summer sun? No? Well. There you go.
As I was saying, we had to sort of play it by ear and see if the air conditioner could get fixed in time. The next morning, I was given the go-ahead to make the two-hour trip, and we headed off....
....right into torrential rains. On the Interstate. Just me and my baby(ies). SCARY! I'm NOT a fan of driving in any kind of weather involving precipitation, and I was a nervous wreck the entire way. I kept my cool, however, remembering to just go with the flow, Erin, just go with the flow.
Once we made it to my Mom's, the hutch search proved successful...except that I couldn't fit it in the car to come back home. Enter my sister's gracious, truck-owning boyfriend. Hooray! I might not get to have my new-to-me hutch right away, but at least I found one, right?! Look at that good attitude, thankyouverymuch. :)
And then...in the middle of the night...a giant storm rolled through, thusly waking my daughter and scaring the poop out of her. Literally. So, I scooped her into my bed, and we fitfully slept on and off for an hour or so...until...the power went out. We are a family addicted to sleeping with fans blaring their glorious white noise, and now, nothing. Oh yes, and the A/C was out again, too.
Again, I told myself to find the positives. I was able to snuggle up in bed with my baby girl, something I rarely ever get to do. And we were safe. And fine. And it would be just fine. She fell back to sleep for a few hours, while I tried my best to doze. The snuggles made that part of the trip totally worth it.
The next day's forecast called for a high of 107 degrees, so I decided to hit the road early in the morning before it became too hot (you know, just in case of an accident or flat tire, etc. And because my hubby told me to get home before it got too hot. He's bossy that way.) ;) We hit the road, and my sweet cherub of a daughter screamed and wailed almost the entire two hours in the car. Want to know why? Because her paci clip was ever so slightly tangled around her bear. HEAVEN FORBID. You'd think she was dying back there or something. UGH. Stressful two hours.
And yet, I remained upbeat, willing myself to understand that she was exhausted from little sleep the night before and probably just pretty darn sick of being in the car for hours on end. I could do this. I could do this. Yes.
When we made it back home, she was ravenously hungry, so I got her lunch ready in a hurry. I was slicing strawberries and pouring milk like a mad woman, and then I reached for the only source of meat she will eat at this point: those disgusting chicken-sticks-in-a-jar. Gag me. When I was newly PG, I couldn't even be in the same room with an open jar of that nasty smelling stuff, but, of course, she and her barely-four-teeth love them. :) Well, as I was hurrying along to feed the beast, I accidentally dropped the jar of chicken sticks on the counter, resulting in a spray of congealed packing juices that landed all in my hair, on my face, down my arms and all over my new shirt. I. Smelled. Like. Meat. Juice.
And my dog came over to lick me.
I lost it.
Right there in the kitchen, covered in meat juice, I had a full-fledged meltdown. I was mad at myself for not being able to keep it together like I'd wanted. I was mad at all of the weird and unpredictable and inconvenient situations that seemed to be attacking my efforts at a positive attitude. And, to be honest, I was mad at God a little. As trivial as these trials seem now that I type them out, at the time I was really trying to do what I thought He'd called me to do: live a peaceful life with a good attitude. And He was seemingly making it as hard as possible for me to do just that!
After wallowing in self-pity (and, lest we forget, meat juices) for a few minutes, I looked up to see my daughter happily covered in strawberries, smiling up at me and waving. I shuffled my nasty self over to her, when she pulled my face down for a kiss and afterwards patted my greasy arms as if to comfort me.
So, I cleaned myself up, dried my tears, changed out of my congealed juice shirt, and we both took a nice long nap.
And I woke up to this sleepy head:
This is somewhat of a disjointed post and story, but I guess what I'm trying to process is that God calls us to CHOOSE peace in the midst of chaos. Peace is easy when things are going well. It is easy when the power is on, the A/C is blowing, the children cooperate, and the meat juice stays in its jar. Those are the easy days.
I think the point is to always worship God through choosing to live a disciplined life, and, in this case, the act of discipline I was miserably failing at exemplifying was living at peace amidst chaos.
I kinda stunk it up (literally and figuratively).
But I'll try again tomorrow.
And the day after that. And the day after that.
You know, after all, I did get to snuggle my baby girl all night long. I think that made it all okay in the end.