Last week I found out that one of my oldest childhood friends has cancer, and two friends’ marriages are falling apart, one slowly and painfully, one quickly and painfully. It sort of puts the whole “none of my clothes fit properly” complaints into perspective. It also shocked me out of a personal pity party I was permitting myself. (How’s that for alliteration?)
Jonathan’s schedule last week was HORRIBLE! When it showed up in the e-mail inbox I pitched a fit. Unfortunately, I pitched it by e-mail to my friend Becky. I engaged in some ungodly attitudes and thoughts and general “poor me” behavior. I grumbled. I complained. I felt sorry for myself and expected others to do the same.
Then I kept getting news from friends. Pretty soon I was thanking God for a series of late nights and long days, and Jonathan put things in even more perspective when he reminded me that we have to guard our own marriage from the things that have attacked these others. I didn’t need to be complaining to God about a few 10 hour days. I didn’t need to pray against a 10 am – 8 pm Saturday shift. Instead, I needed to be begging the Lord to keep us from temptation and deliver us from evil. I was so lost in the twigs, I had lost perspective on the forest.
The final straw of conviction was coming to the end of the week and realizing that unlike cancer and broken marriages, the difference between a bad schedule and a good one is seven days, and sometimes less than that. A training day that had been scheduled for Sunday was rescheduled for a Wednesday, and Jonathan’s schedule has been reworked from five shifts of six or seven hours, to three shifts of ten hours. That means four suppers and bedtimes with Daddy instead of two. It means three nights he can do his homework after the kids go to bed, instead of sometimes having to put in a couple of hours reading or studying after getting home at 11:00 pm.
It means that while my friends are dealing with real struggles, I was pitching a fit about something so temporary as to be laughable. This week I’m delighted in the new schedule and reminded that most of the things about which I complain are both fleeting and irrelevant.
It means this week, when I’m tempted to complain about regular pants being too small and maternity pants being too big, I’m going to stop and pray for my friends and their families and hopefully look up from my little twigs, to see the forest around me once in a while.