Usually I keep the posts on here pretty lighthearted even when attempting to convey something a bit more serious, but today, it’s time for a dash of hardcore honesty. Monday was the Mondayest of Mondays, in every sense of the word. But let me back up a little…
You know how sometimes long trips make you feel a bit fuzzy, like everything is surreal, and this could all be a dream you wake up from soon? I was definitely feeling that way by the last few days of my trip to Montana and Canada. I had seen so many places, and after a while of different areas of my life colliding in too small of a time period, I hardly knew what to think anymore.
From catching up with cousins I rarely spend time with, to visiting a new country, to seeing a close friend’s home- only without her present, to spending a night in my old stomping grounds in Illinois which always brings up such a mix of fun teaching memories and bittersweet memories of the relationship I was in when I lived there… it was such an exciting trip, but after the last five days on the road, all in all I was feeling pretty drained when I got home and very ready for some time with my people and my house.
We got home the middle of the night Saturday, and I made it to the last half of church, but then all my gang was busy or gone, and I ended up spending the rest of Sunday alone in my house. It’s a weird feeling, not unlike spending Christmas alone, and it left me feeling more unsettled than ever. I spent some time in introspection which didn’t resolve as I’d hoped, and when an attempt to reach out to a friend was knocked flat, I was pretty done with the weekend. I was almost looking forward to going back to work and resuming a sense of normalcy and calm in my life.
Monday swaggered into my life and greeted me with a wallop upside the head. I woke up way too early with a headache…first thing in the morning I had to deal with an awfully sticky relational problem I wasn’t at all sure I handled correctly, my worst kind of nightmare…an issue at work added to my stress, and eventually I just wanted to crawl into a hole and never return. Life, man.
When afternoon arrived, I unwrapped a Dove chocolate and nearly laughed at the irony of the message it contained. “Today is your day” it assured me, bedecked with cheerful swirls. Oh silly little chocolate, how ignorant you were of the facts.
But in the middle of my inner turmoil, I had to remember something Sandeep Poonen said years ago at a conference I attended. “Christians don’t have an excuse to have bad days,” he said. “Sad days, hard days, days of grief, sure. But just bad days in which we let the stresses of life make us grumpy and irritable, and we react to the pressure by becoming unlike Christ, that shouldn’t happen. We have power to live above that.” He has no idea how often those words have poked me at inconvenient times or how often I’ve disregarded them in favor of being a wuss.
But today I decided to take his words to heart and take my Monday by the horns, as it were. I fortified myself with a second cup of coffee and made a list of the things I was grateful for. I know gratitude is so preached as to be a tired and dull topic, but I’m pretty sure it’s cliche for good reason. There’s little else that can put life back into perspective in the same way as taking a minute to realize what you have going for you.
My job, which is the kind that is a comfort to go back to on a Monday. Sure, it has its moments, and plenty of them, but I’ve never worked somewhere else with quite such a peaceful atmosphere and with an employer who’s got my back like this one. That’s a pretty fortunate thing. To boot, there was a sweet note on my desk when I got here this morning, saying simply, “You were missed.”
I checked the fridge at work, and there was cheesecake! I’ve been on a restricted diet this whole year, but cheesecake is an exception I allowed myself, and man, have I taken advantage of it. The cheesecake was perfect alongside my afternoon coffee, which is another thing to be grateful for. Unlimited coffee at work for the rough days. Can’t put a price on that.
My wonderful tribe texted me encouragement this morning when I told them the issues my day was giving me, prayed for me, and basically just held my arms up when I barely could by myself. I also popped into a coworker’s office for a little meltdown, and she listened and handed me chocolate and commiserated with the best of them. Seriously. I don’t know how I got so lucky.
Did my day become magically better with the creation of my little list? No, no it did not. The unpleasantness still hung over my head, leaving a knot in the pit of my stomach, but my perspective had shifted a little. It brought to mind a game we used to play as children. We would strap on our rollerblades, and zoom around the concrete pad playing “Christian”. The game was simple; if we looked up at the sky we were fine and could zip around without trouble, but as soon as we looked at the ground, we would have to stumble and fall. Pretty sure we would have made John Crist proud with our level of christianese. But silly as our little game was, it appears we were on to something.
With looking at how fortunate I was, the metaphorical sun may have peeked through the clouds a bit, and taking a second and third and thirteenth look really made me realize just how good God has been to me, even when the waves were crashing over my head a little too often for my comfort. Because when his goodness is the underlying rock I stand on, the waves really can’t shake my footing.