My week started off nice and smoothly on Monday and I was excited to see my little friends again, after the Thanksgiving break. It became a little chaotic, however, when it became time to leave to take Ian to preschool. We got our coats and boots on and as I reached for the keys to the Jeep, I discovered they were not hanging on the hook designated for them. This presented a problem for me, because we only have one key for the Jeep. (Having a spare key made was one of those we must get to it, someday projects. Well, today was the day I had wished we had gotten to it.) Not only did Ian need to get to preschool, I also had an appointment to get to after I dropped him off.
As I tried hard to remember where the key could possibly be, I quickly began to replay the day before in my mind. We had driven the Jeep to pick up our Christmas tree, this much I remembered. But where the keys went after that, I just couldn’t figure out. I made a quick search through coat pockets and my purse, and I prayed. I checked the garage and I made a phone call to Pat. While I wasn’t sure where they were right now, the one thing I was sure of was that Pat had driven the Jeep last, so therefore he must have been the one who had misplaced them. I tried very hard to not allow my irritation get the best of me and I also didn’t want to sound accusatory, so I just pretended to be calm and in control. Yes, pretended. “Honey…do you know where the keys are to the Jeep? Do you remember where we might have put them when we came home yesterday?” Yes, I said we, as if I might have had a part to play in their disappearance, when in reality, I knew I hadn’t. Pat tried to think and gave me ideas of where to look. I finally gave up, called my sweet neighbor, who let me use her car to run Ian to school, go to my appointment and pick up Cadence from preschool. When I dropped it off to her, she said, “I saw you walk across the yard wearing your sports coat.” I had quickly searched the coats we had worn the day before and didn’t find them, but I felt as though her statement was direction from the Lord to search again. So, I came home and searched again, only this time I flipped the coat upside down and shook it. Out dropped the key to the Jeep from the coat I was sure did not have the key. My coat. Whoops. How did that key get in my coat? Oh yes, I remember Pat handing the keys to me when we got home. Silly Kolleen. So sure she wasn’t the one who misplaced them, so sure it was Pat’s fault, so sure she wasn’t to blame.
Then there was Tuesday. My Tuesdays start with my friend, Andrew, arriving in the wee hours of the morning, to get some sleep on the couch, eat breakfast and then hop on the bus. Ian and Andrew are sitting at the kitchen table, eating waffles, and discussing Christmas decorations. Then Ian asked me when I was going to put out my snow globes. I began explaining to him that I wasn’t sure if I should put them out now that Mason is here. “You know how two year olds are; they touch everything and usually break what they touch.” I just wasn’t sure if I was willing to risk it. As I was sharing my concern over Mason breaking them, I unwrapped one, it slipped and hit the table and shattered, I mean shattered all over. Water, glass and sparkles went everywhere! It went down the front of me and also made its way onto Ian’s lap. He was covered with snow globe water and sparkles, it was all over the floor, and I now not only was I staring at this huge mess I also had 10 minutes to get Andrew out the door for the bus. Cadence was walking in the door, Mason was raring to go, Ian sat baffled and I stood in disbelief wondering what had just happened. Oh I remember now…I was talking about how I might need to protect my things from the damage someone else might bring to them, forgetting that I just might be the one to cause the damage. Lesson learned.
I don’t know why I find it so easy to blame others for whatever irritation I am feeling or frustrating situation I am in, rather than look within myself first. I know there are some who seem to take the blame for everything…but..that is not me. I blame others first, then need to be humbled by the truth that there are times when I have no one to blame but myself. Both need to ask the Lord for balance… and truth. Some need to let go of pride and pick up that sweet humble spirit that says it is ok to be wrong, while others need to let themselves off the hook of always believing they are the one to blame. Life is going to be difficult and situations will not always go smoothly or according to my plans. Learning to behave wisely when I am pressed and not blame others is an area I need to work out in my life. I can certainly see that now.
We can look at the trials and tribulations of this life in different ways. We can either become so angry at them that we become bitter and hard-hearted. We can become down on life and believe that all the bad in our life is because of someone else, or we can ask God to show us what He wants us to learn, about ourselves, from the lessons of life. I can see that I blame others too much and need to ask for help, rather than lay blame when I find myself in a bind. I also learned that while I might fear, or believe, that others will cause the damage of my things, or possibly my heart, it just might be that I am the one doing the damage. If we allow ourselves to become bitter and hard because of every heartache, disappointment or every awful thing that has ever happened to us then we just might miss out on some good godly instruction. We also may miss out on the blessing of good friendship, too. We drive people away when we put up walls, trying to protect ourselves. Life may knock us down, but it doesn’t need to destroy us and we don’t need to allow our reaction to life’s troubles destroy others either.
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NLT).