I heard a scream from the kitchen. Not a short, scream of shock but a long one of agonizing pain. It was the 10 year old. I ran in there to find the electric mixer attached to her head. Her gorgeous, long hair had fallen forward while she was mixing pancake batter and within a split second… pain. Unfortunately, she instinctively reached for her hair with her free hand and sustained injuries to it as well. Tears. Lots of tears. Her hair was a mess. Some yanked out of the scalp, some still entangled in the mixer, and the rest splattered with batter (along with her face and clothes). Her hand was bleeding and swelling. The part of me that knew we would laugh about this later (and we did) wanted to snap a picture… the mom in me ran to my little girls’ aid. Her sisters pitched in too.
We’ve all had those times when we’re going along, happy as can be… envisioning our light and fluffy pancakes slathered in syrup… when all of the sudden, it becomes a hairy situation… maybe not literal hair involved… but you know what I mean. A phone call changes your day… or your month… or life as you know it. An accident flips your world upside down. Words slice your heart in two. Life is full of these unexpected things and how we will handle them is often a surprise to us. We react.
Reacting is natural of course, and sometimes our reactions are exactly necessary (like crying when we hurt). Sometimes though, our reactions can bring on stress and anxiety and trust issues.
Years ago, my mom told me about a man who decided to change the way he reacted to life situations by relinquishing control to God. He determined that everything he had belonged to God and that he was just using what God gave him to use. One day he he got into a car accident and his vehicle was severely damaged. Instead of getting upset, and freaking out about how on earth he would deal with the expense and inconvenience of this, he said, “God, I don’t know why you wanted the side of your car bashed in, but you must have a reason for allowing this.”
Whoa! Now that’s a total mind-shift. So often we try to control everything (at least I know I do). However, we can’t control everything.
It is card sending season, and yes, I know this seems I’ve taken a 180 turn in a completely different direction, but just stick with me here. I’ve already mentioned my issues with perfection and “controlling” things. Well, I usually am pretty particular about our Christmas cards. We’ve been in a “themed” series for a number of years. A family member will draw a picture for the front and another family member will write a poem for the inside. The family photo is always color coordinated too. Well, we were running behind on getting them out this year (again, read the post I linked above for more info). I read over everything quickly and I totally missed a typo before the Husband took them to be printed. As I’m stuffing envelopes, I see it… then one of the kids spots it. I felt bad for the kid who wrote the poem. I’m the one who typed it up and I dropped the ball. I knew if I told the Husband I needed to trash those copies, he was going to say, “Sorry babe, not spending another dime on Christmas cards”. Trust me, he’s no Scrooge, and if I asked sweetly, I know he would have reprinted them. I just couldn’t bring myself to ask over something I knew was small in the grand scheme of things.
As I stared at the typo I thought, “Lord, I don’t know why you wanted this card to have a typo, but you must have a reason for this.” The first thing that popped into my head was, “yeah, to teach me not to rush through proofing things.” And then I had another thought. Maybe it was to put yet another nail in my “gotta be perfect” coffin with another lesson in “letting go“. And then another… perhaps, it was to assure some sweet, discouraged soul receiving the card… “See, Jules isn’t perfect either… and it’s ok”.
When we come screaming into this world, we aren’t promised rainbows and unicorns (although advertisers and “prosperity preachers” try their hardest to convince us otherwise). Life will have hairy situations. The question is, how will we react?