Thursday, April 26, 2012

Preparation



"I don't know how people do this!" I said. I knew we'd be coming home right at lunch time and they would be hungry again. I still needed to change diapers, feed the brood, get the kids dressed, grab some cups for the two little ones, oh yeah, and brush my own teeth and get some socks on!

We ate cereal hurriedly, which almost never happens in my house. Normally I make eggs, or pancakes, or oatmeal - not because I'm trying to be Suzy Homemaker, but honestly because I don't particularly like cereal. But today, it was cereal all the way. My husband had to run out the door this morning. We had gotten up a little later than perhaps we should have.

I started to snap a little, here and there. I began to see what still needed to be done, and what was coming undone. The cups were being taken out of my purse by the one year old. The clothes I had thrown over the balcony into the Family Room were being strewn around the room and shoved into crannies and crevices by the two year old. Suddenly getting out of the door and to Bible Study (yes, Bible Study) seemed to be a mountain I couldn't climb.

That's when I realized, I needed to slow. Did it really matter if I was late to Bible Study? Not really. I would much rather be late to Bible Study and not yell and crab at my children, than shout and nag at them and be five minutes earlier, but despite that five minutes, still late...

Deliberately I stopped doing everything. I thought about what I still needed to do and decided to do everything slowly and purposefully. Instead of rushing into the Family Room to run damage control and dress the children, just to then leave them there so I could go get myself ready and have them cry because I had left, I went upstairs and got myself ready first. Then, I slowly went downstairs.

It helped. I even stopped and got some coffee on the way. I didn't get to the church on time, but I was only ten minutes late. It turned out there was no Bible Study this morning anyway. I was so relieved that I hadn't made life unpleasant for everyone, just to show up to something that wasn't even happening!

Unfortunately, this is not typical. I find that oftentimes in the rush of getting ready for guests, or during the hustle and bustle of getting out the door on time I am nagging and grouching with a less than pleasant demeanor. It's wrong. I most times try to be patient, but then something else happens. Someone takes their shoes and coat off right after I put them on, someone spills milk, I can't find my keys. Then, my whole world (that's how it can seem) comes crashing down around me and I'm in a frenzy, and I'm yelling, and the whole while I am not liking myself very much. And afterwards? I feel so guilty. I have to apologize. I would rather just avoid the whole situation. But that's not usually an option. There are places I have to go, and things I have to do.

It got me to thinking about preparation. It seems so obvious. Maybe I should get the kid's clothing ready the night before, maybe I could make sure that the table is set, suppose I got my husband's lunch ready to grab, I could get up earlier.

Proverbs 6:6-8 "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,  yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest."

 

Have you ever sat still and watched ants hard at work on an anthill, or perhaps in your trash can? ;) They don't stop. They all have a specific job, that they carry out and it all comes together in their colony. 

 

It all comes together

 

When I don't do my part, when I don't make the proper preparations it's not fair of me to expect that it should all come together when it's time to leave, or when my guests are arriving. If I prepare earlier, then I can enjoy the preparations. If I put things together ahead of time, then when it's time to leave or welcome people (whatever it is) I can be relaxed. Preparation can give me some peace, some quiet, the extra time that I am generally frustrated to not have. 

 

And truly this is all encompassing:

 

"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. "

 

 



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