Finding Peace in the Interruptions

What is it about Mondays? We read the comics that coin Mondays as the day to fear, the day of sorrow, the day that makes us crave the weekend after we have just enjoyed one.  After Sunday, our day of rest, we get back into our routine, and we are snapped back to a cruel world, where everything has the potential to ruin our mood.  I have often wondered how long it took Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.  Was it a few years, after paradise got boring, (imagine that?! *face palm*) or did it all go down after God’s seventh day of rest?  *Booming theology scholar voice*”And then came…Monday and everything went wrong…

Let me ask you something. How do you react when your life is interrupted? What feelings do you feel? Impatience, anxiety, disbelief, defeat? After the daily grind of problem after problem, do you wonder if you will ever have a moment of peace? I suppose I could comfort you with words like “It happens” or “Que Sera Sera”. I can vividly see all of the eye rolls directed my way, so don’t worry, I won’t stoop to those cliches. Yes, when our plan is interrupted we get upset. We let the interruptions set the tone for the entire day. This morning, for example, the plan was: Get up, read my Bible, say my prayers, drink my coffee, wake up my kids, feed them, dress them, and get my daughter to school. Simple enough, right? First, my daughter didn’t wake up right away, then I poured her milk in her cereal right before she had to use the bathroom, which ultimately caused her to eat her cereal more slowly because it had already become soggy. Next, I was about to make my daughter’s lunch, when my son, who is a new fan of “tricking” games, kept calling out to me. “Mommy I want my nana. I want my nana (His nana is his security blanket, which he dubbed based on ‘night night’). He was laying on top of it, so I told him so, and an impish smile spread across his face as he said “Nooooooooo it’s noooooot.” By the way, why can’t our children call for mommy in a fashion that we can distinguish whether it is a fun tidbit or a life and death situation? One time my daughter was screaming bloody murder while she was in the bathroom, and I rushed to her aide, expecting the worst.  “The cat winked at me!” she cried jubilantly.  Oy!  Back to Monday, so, then I tell my daughter to get dressed after she is finished and I, in turn, get dressed. I come out, she hasn’t left the table yet. I scold my son for sitting on the cat, and then check to see if my husband has responded to my morning ritual “I love you” text, then I remember my daughter’s lunch. I get up, Becky comes running out with a pair of her brother’s underwear. “Mommy! These were in my drawer”,” she says laughing hysterically. Has she gotten dressed during this time? Nope. I tell her to go get dressed and to put her shoes on (still keeping a gentle and patient tone, mind you). I go to make Becky’s lunch, but smell something mildewy in the kitchen sink. I toss the smelly, sopping, dish rag and some other towels into the washing machine. I go to help Jonny get dressed, but he says he has to go potty and begs me to stand by the door because he is scared. Of course I comply. I don’t have time for the whining, pleading, arm-dragging back and forth. Becky comes running out, “Mommy! These pants are falling down.” I try to get the belt tighter, but alas, these pants that she has chosen are still too big for her, so I have to help her change, because I know I can’t trust her to change pants quickly. I tell her to put her shoes on. I have my coat. I have my keys. I have my phone. I have Becky’s backpack-Oh no! Her lunch! I rush to the kitchen and quickly slap a sandwich together and then toss a banana and a Kool-Aid pouch into her lunchbox. At this point, my daughter is already 10 minutes late for school. I recognize the pent-up anxiety coming to the surface. I purposely slow myself down and remind myself that it is not a big deal. “Not today. Don’t yell at your kids today,” I say to myself. I slowly put on their jackets and smile at them.  I remark on how cute they are to attempt to ease the tension. I then remember that the car seats are still in the other car from the previous night. Really? Another barrier? Breathe! We walk outside and it is unusually chilly for the desert in the month of October. My daughter is shivering in her long sleeve shirt and thin wind-breaker. “Do you want your warmer jacket, bunny?” I ask my daughter. She nods. I again remind myself, that we are already late. It doesn’t matter anymore. My baby is cold and she needs her mommy to make it all better. I go back in the house for her other jacket and we finally get into the car. I start to back up “Mommy! I’m not clicked!” my son screams.” I’d like to tell you that I was over the aggravation, calmly stopped the car and said: “That’s okay, hon. Let me help you with your seat belt.” Nope, I let it get to me and shouted “Jonathan! WHAT in the WORLD?!”

Normally after days like this I feel I deserve a trip to get a pedicure.  You know the feeling? You stroll into the salon.  Every single color excites you, even though you are convinced that no matter what you pick, your nails are going to chip the second you walk out the door.  Hmm…aren’t you a little old to be wearing that shade anyways?  Face it.  You may as well just choose a boring, stay-at-home mom shade possibly entitled Clearly Dreaming. You collapse into a smooth, leather, massage chair. You feel the warm bubbly foot bath slowly erasing all the stress you’ve been carrying. The anticipation of having soft, beautiful painted feet brings a smile to your face. You are treating yourself to a professional pedicure. You deserve it after all the wasted months from that cheap, rip-off pumice stone which made you believe that any day now, your cracked heels would be no more. All of your polishes at home are old and runny. You can’t even remember when you bought them. Certainly before you had your kids, right, because you couldn’t even reach your toes? You now have the freedom to scroll whatever you like on your phone, or you get to have the first adult conversation after months of trying to understand a strong-willed toddler. You are at peace. But is it true peace? Be honest. You succumb to a flight of fancy where you are now a queen. You have a servant to beautify you, (not that you would treat them like a servant, of course), but the elevated position atop that massage chair kind of suggests that you have power, doesn’t it?

I purposely omitted details from the Monday scenario out of fear of being judged. I wanted sympathy. What I didn’t tell you, is that after reading my Bible and my prayers, I wasted time looking at nonsense on my phone. I know how long it takes my daughter to get up (even on a good day), I know that mornings don’t always go as planned, but I allowed my phone to sweep me up. Okay, I admit it, I was looking at my phone while they were eating breakfast too, (let the tomatoes fly!). How ironic it is that we so dislike interruption, but in this day and age, our phones and devices make it so easy for us to constantly allow the interruptions to break through.  And when interruptions happen, we take it out on others without really assessing the situation. This morning I consciously tried not to let the frantic, crazy mom break free.  I reminded myself how blessed I am that I don’t live in a city where gridlock is inevitable at rush hour time.  I  I tried not to let the morning get to me, but oops, some frustration still managed to slip out.

My husband had a rough couple of weeks, and last night he rocked our daughter to sleep for the first time in many years. “In that moment” he said, “you’re not on your phone, you’re not worried about what life will bring.” At that moment he felt peace. There was a Saturday, when my family didn’t have any plans at all. No church events, no birthday parties, no prior commitments. The blanket of clouds over our mountains was the perfect setting for a still, tranquil day. Our kids were passed out for most of the morning. We were able to stay home and have a remedying, lazy day. Instead of using this day to treat ourselves to endless Facebook scrolling or Trivia Crack on our phones, we used it as an opportunity for daddy-son wrestles, mommy-daughter coloring pages, and warm and satisfying comfort food. That day, I let my daughter paint my toenails. Do you know how I felt? Peaceful. My daughter sometimes gets more polish on my skin than on my nails, but when I look down I see the most beautiful toes in the world.  They symbolize a bond with my daughter that I would never want to be destroyed. My daughter’s special, splotchy, sparkly purple artwork on my toes are worth more than any Beverly Hills elite spa package. My advice to you is, let your daughter paint your toes, whether she is three or thirty-three. I know a nice pedicure is a good activity for mommy alone time, but trust me. This time with your daughter will mean the world to you both. Shed your need for perfect toes and give it a try. Heck, if your son or your husband wants to paint your toes, let him. Either way, you get to sit down, and as mamas, any excuse to sit down is one you need to take.  Also, you are sure to save money and make memories.  If you need some peace of mind, turn off your phones, and commit to a screen-free day.  It works wonders.

Finding peace in the daily grind is a challenge.  But, a wise person once said, “Just because life throws you a cactus, doesn’t mean you have to sit on it.”  I know some of you out there are facing struggles that I cannot even fathom right now.  I know there is a #firstworldproblems tone to this rant, and that I should be grateful.  I am.  It’s my beginning prayer every day.  I thank God for my blessings.  My point is to show you that not everyone has everything all together.  The way I’m able to make peace out of situations most of the time is because of God’s Holy Spirit.  The mistakes I’ve made in the past taught me that we are not of this world.  We are just visiting, and our true home is in eternity with Jesus.  Becoming a Christian doesn’t make you automatically perfect, but it makes you more willing to press on in a more positive way to battle the problems that can come at you from every angle.  Real peace is found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And when you surrender to Him, every interruption is just an extension of the peace that He promises.

“I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  John 14:27

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  Phillipians 4:7

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