I love you, Lord, my strength,
(though I’m having some trouble feeling real good about that, as badly as the morning started)
my rock, my fortress, my savior.
(none of which feels very relevant right now)
My God is the rock where I take refuge;
(Is he? Really? Do I really BELIEVE that today?)
my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.
(God, was that you in the form of a colleague who took the kids and forced – strongly encouraged – me to go spend some quiet time with you? Is that what it means to be my mighty help on a day that feels hopeless?)
The Lord is worthy of all praise;
when I call I am saved from my foes.
(Sometimes those foes are in my head, in the form of the voices that badger and pester, in the form of a child in front of me who speaks a strange whining foreign language, in the form of having failed in my responsibilities. So I called, Lord. Well, it was more like screaming, really. And you answered…loud and clear.)
The waves of death rose around me;
(I would have killed the innocents unlucky enough to be in my path, with my foul temper and fighting mood)
the torrent of destruction assailed me;
(I could barely see for the red fog of anger – at myself, at my situation, at the draw of a bad day)
the snares of the grave entangled me;
(Surely, THIS isn’t how my life is supposed to play out. Surely, THIS isn’t how I’m supposed to live. Surely, DEATH would be better than this!)
the traps of death confronted me.
(It seems like a laughing matter, looking back. It was just a bad day, a bad outlook, a bad start – no big whoop. Except, in the reality of my head, it WAS a big deal, and in the midst of it, it was FULL of “traps of death”!)
In my anguish I called to the Lord;
(I screamed. I cried.)
I cried out to my God for help.
(And, facing the God-with-me-in-the-form-of-a-colleague, I did just that.)
From his temple he heard my voice;
(He better have! It was on high volume!)
my cry came to his ears.
(And the answer came clearly back to me…that though I had failed to start my day as I should, with prayer and quiet time, he would allow me to step back, to start over, to have it – even though it was MY fault, even though I was the reason for the problem, even though HE had pointed me all along to the right way.)
We all have bad days. For me, they cloak themselves so often as bumps, small obstacles to my well-laid plan. The bumps get me off-track, and in my obsession for control and a Plan, I often get caught up in the fact that I’m off-track, instead of focusing on heading back, salvaging what I can, finding out if maybe God had a different road in mind for the day’s drive. I can look back and see how God so often tosses me BIG hints that this is coming, huge glaring signposts, filled with neon, telling me that I should change lanes, head a different direction, or otherwise change my course. I’m a two-by-four-to-the-head kind of girl, though (which is unfortunate for my head). So often – like today – I just don’t see the signs. I ignore them, thinking maybe they’re for that OTHER person (you know, the one on the same road as me). I close my eyes and pretend that since I can’t see them, they don’t exist (much in the way my three-year-old closes her eyes and pretends I can’t see her).
Today, I received a wonderful grace. As I was stomping around, gearing up for a full-blown tantrum (there’s really no other word for my mental state), someone stepped in. This person, who is such a dear, wonderful, and gentle soul, intervened. She forced me out of my misery, and all but walked me down the hall to the parish library, so that I could restart my day.
And once I had prayed Morning Prayer and read the Office, I felt like I had a clean slate.
Would you believe the rest of the day was a breeze?
All because of God’s grace, intervening with lil ole (spoiled brat) me.
Thanks, God. And thanks, dear Colleague-who-took-over.