Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gall and wormwood

Bitter tears of frustration and angry thoughts about things that are totally within my control but I am too weak to change come from nowhere.

Yet I am so damn tired of pretending that I'm strong and independent -- such a lie -- I am anything but.

As I drive prayers are raised for strength against indulging in the rancor that wants to find it's voice, and I am scrawling thoughts on the back of a grocery list at stoplights -- my half-hour commute divided by words -- just so I can get them out of my head.

Biting my lip and clutching at Mary hanging around my neck -- like the life raft she is -- in an effort to not give into the ire that floods me -- against Satan who tells me lies -- that I would only spew to the four walls, berating the cycle of hormones that have sent me into this emotional tottering (those chemicals we women aren't supposed to talk about, or blame, because we are all supposed to be feminists and beyond those things. Screw feminism. I am PMSing and I will blame the hormones; it is the third day in a row I haven't been able to get to the gym like I wanted).

Dissatisfaction (not just from missing the gym)

I can't possibly be the only one who sometimes wants to just scream and curse and throw things.

("Everybody's got a dark side. Do you love me? Can you love mine?")

But I am too nice, and won't do those things. I am stuck, and I am not brave enough to change or vocalize.

I am plagued by self-doubt and fail continually to take action to be just a little bit selfish, if only to better myself.

Oh God, come to my assistance! Oh Lord, make haste to help me!

This, too, shall pass, He says to me, my jewel, be not afraid! Lean on me and I will be your strength.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

"...invaded by external agitation."

Everyone has at least one, I think. You know, that one person in your office, or even a roommate or family member who can just push your buttons, simply by being who they are? Maybe they breathe funny, or have a nasal voice, clomp around when they walk or just do things differently than you would. Whatever it is, it irks you. You find yourself rolling your eyes when they aren't looking, or mumbling under your breath or even complaining about them to others when they're not around.

I've got one, too. She's a nice woman, my coworker, but has one of those Jersey accents that just makes my skin crawl. She loves to talk...some days I can physically feel myself tensing the longer she anyone, not just me. She also tends to needlessly explain and note things. For example, if I'm in the break room eating lunch, and she walks in to refill her water glass, she will often look at me (sitting there, food in front of me and eating away) and ask "Lunch time?" Yes, seriously (once, I replied "Nope, breakfast," and she just shook her head at me). Sometimes she will walk into the office after being gone for a meeting and tell everyone -- and since we don't have cubicles, she's clearly visible -- "I'm back." She's 6 feet tall. It's not like we can't see her.

My roommate, who is a good friend, also drives me a bit nuts with how she's organized the kitchen. She was in the house first, and I'm mostly accustomed to how she's arranged things. Key word mostly. Be honest: do you know anyone who puts cup measures inside a lidded salad spinner behind a two-foot tall stack of Tupperware in the back of a bottom cabinet? All I'm saying is, they're not exactly handy.

I am so far from perfect, though, so I know I shouldn't be casting stones. I'm pretty sure, for example, the fact that I'm not as much of a cleaning nut as my roommate -- and therefore the continuously cluttered nature of my bedroom -- bugs her (me being the Oscar to her Felix, organization-wise).

So lately, especially at work, I've been trying to ignore these petty annoyances or, at the very least, offer them up, praying when I find myself growing annoyed and asking the Lord for help to ignore whatever proverbial fly is buzzing around my head. And I've noticed that they're rolling off my back a little more easily than they used to.

Some days it's still a struggle. The little things tend, as we say sometimes here in the South, to stick in my craw more easily than larger issues. I even feel, in a way, that I shouldn't be venting about them here. St. Paul challenges us in Philippians 2:14 that we should "Do everything without grumbling or questioning," and again in 1 Corinthians 10:10 "do not grumble." And in 1 Peter 4:9, we are told to "be hospitable without complaining." May God give me the grace to do so! These petty annoyances are small crosses. I have to remind myself that dying to these will only help me grow closer to the Lord.

Elizabeth Leseur, a Frenchwoman who's cause for canonization is underway (if you haven't read her journals or any of her writings, I cannot recommend them highly enough) touches on this among the many things she hoped to work on spiritually: "Many things to reform: pride, the tendency to procrastinate getting to work (I admit I'm guilty of this a lot, too), to let days slip away; (and) allowing myself to be invaded by external agitation."

Amen to that.