Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Unplanned Party

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Today I threw a party.

It wasn't planned.

Actually...I didn't even want to throw it.

This party had zero streamers. No cake. No presents.

It had one attendee.

Me.

What kind of lame party is that?

The pitiful kind.

Literally.

Today...I threw myself a pity party.


I'm sure I'm not the only one who has days that make you want to throw up your hands in surrender. To grab any white napkin, tea towel, diaper or white pair of underpants from the laundry basket and wave that thing around.

I just gave up.

It could have been my pre-teen's refusal to follow my instructions for the umpteenth time about going to bed at a decent time and thus falling asleep on the couch at her sister's OT appointment. Which led to her not finishing her work for the day. Which led to her having to do it when we got home. Which led to her being bored and somehow turning, "don't let your backside leave this seat at the table" into "hey...I'll just go and watch this tv show with my brothers for a minute...or thirty.

It could have been that.

Or it could have been my precocious second-born's freak out at the counselor's office today. And while I'm grateful it happened in this safe environment, it left me saddened and mentally and emotionally exhausted.

That could have definitely done it.

Or maybe it was walking out of that office feeling defeated to realize that my third born child, the Rule Keeper, had not kept his word about finishing his math work while I was dealing with the above-mentioned issue.

At that point, I was near tears and had to swallow back that primal scream that we moms know so well, "Why won't ANYONE listen to me?!?!?!?"

As we moved from appointment to appointment and location to location, things went from bad to worse until I felt so out of control, sorts, options and sanity.

I felt very sorry for myself and could have played a party soundtrack of melancholy songs as I fixed something on our church's Facebook page per request by my pastor/father (and thus not even noticing when my eldest backside left her seat to migrate into the tv room), all the while watching the clock and dreading the dinner prep and cooking that was looming ahead of me.

I could have thrown up streamers of frustration as I prepped and cooked said dinner only to have three out of four kids come see what I was making and then sneak off to try to scarf down cereal, fruit snacks, and leftovers because they informed me that they didn't like what I was making (and by the way, not liking tacos is pretty much Un-American in my book).

Cleaning up from the non-desired dinner didn't help my mood. Likewise, working with my procrastinating student on her persuasive essay that is due tomorrow that she did not do when she was snoozing on the couch this afternoon and that she was "not in the mood for" was not my favorite moment.

Even my husband's attempts to have me read our nightly advent reading and put today's Jesse Tree ornament on the tree couldn't break me out of my funk. I took a pass because I couldn't bear to see my four blessings tune out the hope of Christmas and squabble on the rug during the reading and fight over who got to put on the ornament. I just couldn't do it.

So he did it. And they piped down and listened and asked introspective questions and the five of them had a warm fuzzy Christmas moment while I silently fumed and printed out paperwork for our educational coordinator meeting tomorrow.

Foiled again.

And just now, I shut this laptop cover and walked towards my bedroom to call it a day and just crawl into bed to start afresh tomorrow. But then I passed by the laundry room and saw the clothes I had put in the washing machine earlier were done and needed to be put in the dryer. But there was already stuff in the dryer that needed to be taken care of...

And by then...my lip had started to quiver.

It was my pity party and I could cry if I wanted to....

But instead, I pulled clothes out of the dryer and hung them up. And folded pants and put them in laundry baskets. And turned leggings outside in and brushed the clump of autumn leaves off them that went through both washer and dryer.

And I thought about a terrible rotten no good day that didn't offer much in terms of happiness or accomplishment. These days are not my favorite type of days. They are no one's favorite days. They are grey days of blah and blech. There are no surprise gifts or high fives or emails just to say hi and I love you, no greeting cards in the mail, no snuggles from children just because.

These are the days that make me know the depth of my own pitifulness. My self-absorption. My fickle heart.


And these are the days when I remember how much I desperately need a Savior -- someone to save me from my own sadness and wallowing and despair.

This year I'm observing Advent. I'm reading through special readings from my Mosaic Bible and Ann Voskamp's, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift that make me think long and hard about what this season is about. I'm not talking about Christmas. I'm talking about the BEFORE Christmas season of bustle, and rudeness, and people stealing other peoples stuff, and families squabbling, and children lying, and my own sense of failure.

Advent: the arrival of a notable person, thing or event


The wistful and sometimes mournful Christmas songs we hear serve to drive the point home.

This world is suffering. Dying daily. It is groaning out its need of someone to rescue us from ourselves.

We are waiting. Longing. Hoping.

 And no song expresses this hopeful anguish quite like O Come, O Come Emmanuel. And verse three is especially fitting for a day like today.


O Come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheerour spirits by thine advent heredisperse the gloomy clouds of nightand death's dark shadows put to flightRejoice, Rejoice!  Emmanuel......shall come to thee, O Israel!


I'm a captive of my own hubris. My own lack of planning. My own failed attempts to be and do it all.


O come Emmanuel....

...and ransom captive...Heather Hilscher



And I'm so grateful that in this season of Advent, that the miracle has already come. It's here. And I don't have to wait for December 25th or some magical day for hope to be fulfilled. It's done already.

And so the only thing that is left to do is raise up my trembling hands and mascara-smudged eyes and simply ask for what Emmanuel has given to this world and to me.

Grace.
Forgiveness.
Joy.
Peace.


I choose to breathe it all in and exhale it out to those around me. I didn't do a good job of it today. But tomorrow is another day to give out what has been so freely lavished upon us.

And if that isn't a good reason for a party, then I don't know what is.

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