I’ve been a bit grumpy lately.
I was coming home with fish and chips last night when I nearly ran over some kids who were riding their skateboards on the street in the dark. I pumped the horn loud and long to let them know I wasn’t impressed and they offered a few suggestions to me as to what I could do with myself. Instead of just driving on and leaving it at that I slowed, backed up and chased them. When I had them in my sights I hopped out and yelled ‘get off the road – you dickheads!’. I think they were a little scared as I heard a rather timid ‘yes’ in response.
I drove off snarling, but thought to myself ‘you’re the dickhead…’ It was a very unneccessary and inappropriate response but it flowed out almost effortlessly.
I think it was partly a result of other factors in my life at the moment.
Over the last few weeks we have been trying to help out some local families who find themselves in difficult life situations. As a result we currently have a little fella living with us whose mum is in hospital. I know that as a person who calls themself a follower of Jesus I should just be willing and happy to help out, but the last week or so I’ve been a bit over it and its made me irritable and edgy.
Without saying too much, it seems that when ‘mum’ has a meltdown, no one in the immediate family wants to know about it and a 7 year old is left with no-one to look after him. The government authorities will kick in with crisis care, but its not real good for a kid whose life is already disturbed. Usually ‘mum’ rings us first, and the last two times this has happened he has finished up in our home.
Its a long story and the personal details of it aren’t mine to put up here. But it has left me emotionally drained.
With a steady flow of visitors coming and going from our placey, as well as Danelle being a way for a week i was already feeling weary. So an added face around the house who we need to ‘train’ somewhat, adds to the load and last week I felt like my ability to cope and be a decent human being all but evaporated.
I have been reflecting on whether it is just that I am selfish and his presence inconveniences me, or if I am more tired than I had realised and in need of a more substantial rest. The last time he came I coped ok and while I do like to have space at home, I am also quite used to having people live with us. However most are adults and some are even moderately functional. 🙂
I have increasingly been feeling that the work we do here in Brighton with its very high relational component suits Danelle down to the ground, but is less so something that I am naturally gifted at. I think part of the reason I am doing a practical job is so that the task oriented side of me gets a decent work out and I find more satisfaction in life.
I reflected recently that it sometimes feels like Danelle and I have reversed roles and she is now the primary worker in our community with myself supporting her. Another role reversal is that now I feel like the one operating less from a position of strenght and giftedness, whereas in church life she was the one who had those feelings. Running a children’s ministry in a church of 400 people took a bit of organisational and leadership grunt and this was not Danelle’s forte, whereas it was one of my more natural skills. She was often tired by it and it wasn’t a good fit for her.
So at times I find the chaotic relational nature of our lives more wearying than I would care to admit (even though that is what I am doing now) and wonder if I am pushing myself too hard to be someone I am not.
And its a really important ‘or’…
Is this just part of the way in which God is shaping me into a more healthy and Christlike human being and the stresses I experience actually shape my character in a healthy way? If a significant portion of the christian life is ‘cross carrying’ and ‘self denial’, and we know that when we sign up – then should it surprise me if it actually happens?
My jury is out on that one at present, but I think the answer is likely ‘yes’…
Perhaps in the wash up of our lives I will bcome a more compassionate human being and that would be a good thing.
I just hope I can stop being such a grumpy bastard soon…