smells like diet coke and failure

Most people would say that I’m a pretty happy girl. Not blissfully, unreasonably happy, but I try to be good-natured. But today was not an average day. Seriously. I felt like I was being punked ALL…MORNING…LONG.

The alarm went off at 5:40am, just like it does five days out of seven. I pressed the snooze and laid there talking to God and giving my day to Him. I prayed for my family – for their protection, for wisdom in good choices, that each of them would have an opportunity to be Jesus to someone today. I prayed for friends in need. I asked God to give me patience in the trials and a heart like His. I just didn’t realize that I’d need that “patience and a heart like His” so soon in my day!

Our oldest son gave me serious attitude this morning. He’s a good kid, but he’s in those super fun middle school years in which he oscilates from being my sweet son to moody, angsty pre-teen, without warning. This morning, he was tired. He was sitting at the table staring off, so I reminded him of the time and told him to get some breakfast. He asked for bacon. I told him I’d make some if he could wash up the skillet (that I didn’t get to last night) while I finished my hair and make-up. (We leave at the same time.) He said, “well I wouldn’t have even bothered to ask for the bacon if you’d FINALLY make those blueberry muffins you told me you’d make 2 days ago.”

I was just a mix of seriously mad, hurt and confused. I didn’t make the dang muffins because I was busy shuttling his butt around for the past two days. On top of that, we had an old friend drop in on us yesterday evening. He stayed most of the evening chatting (a pleasant, but interrupting surprise) and I didn’t get to some of the chores. I explained all of this to my dear son and issued him a consequence. He genuinely apologized and we parted on good terms. However, I was wracked with mom guilt to the 5,000th degree. “I can’t be a stay-at-home mom and make muffins for my kid and he’s all angsty because of it” is pretty much the only voice that was playing in my head at this point. I left home without breakfast, without lunch, and with a burdened heart.

I was still playing over the morning in my head when my husband called. Why we chose to have THAT conversation following THIS kind of a morning, I’ll never know. I had an attitude and we got off the phone abruptly, in a generally unlovely way.

Now I’m feeling mom guilt AND wife guilt. It was raining. No close parking spaces. Super. I had to park in the far lot and got rained on all the way to the office. Why didn’t I just use the mini umbrella in my bag?  I had given it to my ungrateful 12 year old to use at his golf match yesterday.

I got to the office to find that my laptop had been abducted by IT for malware updates. I sat waiting over 20 minutes for a tech to arrive so I could start my day. At least I could work and forget the morning. I had planned a 20-person meeting for 10am, so there were things to be done. So, a little before 9am, I left to pick up the cookie tray and sodas from a nearby market.

I got a couple of good deals on the items on my list. Score. Maybe this day was turning around, right? Kristen, the eternal optimist.

When I returned to our building, a FedEx truck was blocking the loading lane and a food service truck was blocking all of the meters on the other side of the building. So, after circling for 15 minutes I had to give up and park like a 1/4 mile from my office. The reality was that I was going to have to hoof it with a bag and 3, 12-packs of soda. I parked, loaded up like a pack mule and started off, just as it began it drizzle again. Super.

I finally got to the building after shuffling that ¼ mile. While juggling my load, I had to swipe my access card and struggle onto the elevator. That’s when I accidentally pressed the fire alarm with one of the soda boxes. A rescue crew was dispatched. Everyone stared at the idiot (me) who caused the false alarm while she (I) exited from the “crippled” elevator.

I pushed through the gathered crowd and headed for the conference room, where I did this awkward little hop and hip thrust to get the stuff up of the counter. A glance at the clock, and 5 minutes to spare. Success.

I breathed a sigh of relief and tried to collect my thoughts for the meeting while arranging said cookies on a tray. I turned around and picked up one of the 12-packs to arrange the sodas just to have the bottom of the box fall out. A Diet Coke hit the floor and then exploded UP THE FRONT OF MY CLOTHES and all over the cabinets, the floor, everywhere! As this is happening and I’m standing there, mouth agape and confused, a co-worker pokes his head in to enjoy the show and says “tough morning?”

Um, yeah, it was! Where was Mr. Helpful 10 minutes ago?! Oh, and thanks for noticing my soda-soaked clothes and rain matted hair. Thanks, indeed.

I just closed my eyes and whispered, “help.” It was a simple, emphatic plea. I was obviously not able to handle any of this on my own.

I blotted the soda from my clothes. Gathered up my notebook and items and went into the meeting. I paid attention and even participated a bit. And because God never forsakes us, even when we smell of Diet Coke and failure, then came the blessing.

A co-worker asked to take me to lunch. This was huge to me. I didn’t have a lunch. I didn’t have a solution for this lack of lunchness, other than ingesting the dozen or so leftover meeting cookies. God sent her to take pity on my $10-in-the-bank-account-til-Thursday self. She arranged it with my boss that I could take an extended lunch and she treated me. I was so grateful I thought I was going to bawl! She was the answer to my plea for help.

That was a couple of hours ago, now. I’m feeling a bit recovered, but exhausted. Happiness depends on events and it is fleeting. Friends, this is why happiness doesn’t cut it.  Learning to lean on Jesus for true, deep down joy in knowing that He hears us in our distress, does.

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