The Mystery of Good Choices

May 16, 2016

Time’s not only slipping away, but waterfalling down a vertical slide.

I’m easily overwhelmed on a good day.

Can you imagine me with a few weeks left of work (at the busiest time of the year), making sure I wrap as much of my seven years up into a tidy package as I can to hand over to Lisa while fielding conversation after conversation about my move, and keeping the house perfect for showings? Plus, the day to day, while attempting some semblance of normalcy for the kids. I know! You’re ripping your hair out just thinking about it! Well, it was tough.

This kinda stress was a constant rock stuck in my stomach. I was moody and anxious. No de-stress coloring book or long, hot bath could soothe the craziness of my life. The only way through it was to take one thing at a time and let the rest go.

My journal during this time reads like a psycho’s - all mismatched random thoughts, scribbles, doodles. It’s a challenge extracting something meaningful from it all.

In the middle of all my rantings about bad moods and fruitless showings, I jotted down a story about one of my preschool friends.

Let’s call her Girlie. Girlie is a sassy, sweet little girl and we’ve gotten to know each other quite well. Sometimes, she has a hard time with authority.

On this particular day, she decided she would not complete the assignment given to her. She threw a fit that ended with her folding her arms across her chest and pouting. She’s super good at pouting. Nose scrunched and lips pressed together, that’s when she became my bench buddy.

The Director handles discipline that takes more time than a classroom teacher can give. Girlie knew the deal. She’d been on the bench before. Many children have, and though the bench isn’t a magic wand, it usually gives children a break from the classroom and a moment when they can talk it out. The typical bench time is just a couple of minutes before the child apologizes to the offended (teacher or other child) and rejoins the group. It’s a very loving, nurturing method of helping children make good choices.

Girlie takes a little more time than most.

“It’s your choice,” I told her after several pouting minutes. “You can be grumpy and bored out here or happy and obedient in there.”

Girlie is an expert at waiting out authority figures. I am an expert at waiting out stubborn kids. Girlie and I belonged together. Course, it was a mystery how long she'd wait me out.

Girlie missed show and tell, circle time, and playground - all her choice - until she finally realized that I was serious. She accepted defeat, smiling as she did her assignment. Then, she rejoined the class, happy as a clam.

She was a good reminder to me that how we handle things is always up to us.

Sure, I could’ve gone mom-zilla or boss-zilla or whatever other kind of zilla (sometimes, I did). I could’ve been in a perpetual bad mood, which is really just a grown-up tantrum. In some ways, that could’ve been easier. The stress alone had me riding that sharp edge every minute. But, God! I would’ve missed so much good stuff!

Every day I had a choice to be Martha (busy and frustrated) or to be Mary (just happy to be there).

I didn’t always make the right choice. I’m sure I squandered a lot of time freaking out over to-do lists.

But, whenever I chose living life to doing life, everything was better. I wasn’t spiraling down a waterfall. I was soaking it up.

“I love it when you make good choices,” I told Girlie when she finally said she wanted to finish her work and rejoin the class.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42