Thursday, November 02, 2006

Breaking Point by Judy Fedele

Breaking Point

I’ve been pretty frustrated lately. Big stuff, little stuff, and stuff I’d like to stuff, stuff. The never-ending pile of dirty clothes we’ve dubbed “Mount Washmore”. Pre-treating my laundry for stains, which don’t always come out.

I designate a nice quiet corner for my dog to have her food bowl, but she takes mouthfuls of dog food, carries them to far corners of the house, and leaves a trail of crumbs and kibbles everywhere. Which by the way the baby finds. And eats.

Anyone who knows our older daughter Jaime (8 going on 18)… knows my level of frustration in that arena. There’s at least a couple of essays worth with that kid.

I make the time and effort to cook homemade meals – and the kids prefer chicken patties and mac and cheese (or dog kibbles, in the case of the baby). Also Delia (2 years old) likes to eat with one hand and throw food with the other, which the dog catches and eats. At least they’re both getting something.

As for husband frustrations, (I’m sure we all could list a handful) my persistent favorite: toast crumbs on the counter. (Hasn’t the man ever heard of using a plate?) He’s good about the toilet seat thing, but consistently misses the hamper in favor of heaping clothes on the floor. Depth perception problem, perhaps?

I lose my temper these days pretty easily. One time I lost it so bad we had to check lost and found (ba-da-bump). Frustrations build and build in me until there’s a breaking point. And then I’m totally frustrated with myself for losing it.

Sunday I had a tea party with a few gals. I deep cleaned for days, planned, prepped, and micro-managed my time. Yet an hour before the party, I was tearing around with last minute things, both kids hanging on me and driving me crazy. Finally the tea was made, things were set up, and people were coming in. I realized I forgot to set out a milk creamer for the tea. Reached up in the cupboard to get it. Hubbie had emptied the dishwasher the night before and had glasses perched precariously in the cupboard. Opened the cupboard and crash! Down came a glass.

That wasn’t so bad, though it happened right in the middle of the party. But the glass came down on top of a teapot and knocked a chunk off the rim.

That particular teapot is my favorite, not the best looking, but it was my grandmother’s and very sentimental to me. I couldn’t find the piece that came off the rim. Maybe that part was shattered with the glass, maybe it’s lurking under my stove. Who knows. All I knew was that my cherished teapot was damaged for good. I had worked so hard to make a great party, and it totally dampened my fun. Frustration boiled over at a little thing, and I let it ruin my mood. My babysitter reminded me recently of something I said to her when she first started with us, “You can drop the baby, but don’t drop my teapots.” Tongue in cheek, of course, but it makes me wonder where my priorities are.

Are things more important than my kids, my husband, my friends? Of course not. While I enjoy the things around me, I know they don’t have real lasting value. If I have my priorities straight, then God should be first in my life. All the impermanent things I enjoy are just props to use throughout my day. I need to put my trust in the most valuable thing of all – in Him. I know my life on earth is just a temporary blip, a brief foray in what will be a fabulous journey when I go to be with Him.

So, yeah, I can get frustrated at the temporary setbacks in my life, at the minor annoyances and the heartbreaking losses that happen. But those things are superficial. That’s not where my true focus is. If I keep God as my focus, all those other things are put in proper perspective.

My daughter Jaime was very sympathetic that I was so upset over my favorite teapot being damaged. This morning she wanted to know what I did with it. I shrugged. “I used it to make tea. It’s still my favorite teapot - just a little chipped, honey.” We are all a little damaged in our lives. But God doesn’t see us that way. We are whole and beautiful and loved by him – unconditionally.

So maybe I’ll focus on Him a little more, and not take the other stuff so seriously. Now if you’ll excuse me… I think I’ll go make myself a cup of tea.

Judy Fedele
Publicity Director, Believers’ Chapel MOPS
Cicero, New York
To find out more about Judy's group, go to: http://www.orgsites.com/ny/believerschapelmops/

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