Saturday, June 20, 2015

Losing My Iron Grip but Gaining Patience

Chris had already taken the below humorous photograph of dental chaos in the children's bathroom when John approached us minutes later, asking, "Where is my toothpaste? I can't find it." Chris and I burst out laughing.

Dental chaos
This is what happens when I lose my iron-grip on the minutiae of the household's functioning: children do things like get out every free sample of toothpaste from dental visits as well as back-up fresh toothpaste I've bought from the store in order to use all the tubes at once. And then John can't find the specific free sample of toothpaste he desires and the other ten tubes won't suffice. Meanwhile, I don't have the working hands to pack up all the toothpaste and hide it away.

I've lost my iron grip on the home's happenings both figuratively and literally. The pregnancy-induced carpel tunnel syndrome I've experienced during all my pregnancies is its most acute during this one. The pain like my arms are on fire while someone is stabbing my hands with knives is why I am getting almost no sleep. The weakness in my hands is why anything I do with my hands--which is what? almost everything?--hurts and for much of the days, as of this week, I simply can't do any of it. I can't write with a pen, I can barely drive, I can do just a bit of housework before I'm overwhelmed. And I mostly can't manage to keep a smile on my face while experiencing this chronic pain that can't be treated--about which I feel most sad for my family.

God can humble us any way he wants for our salvation. I am humbled every time I walk past the dental chaos in the bathroom or the disaster that is the play room. I am humbled to have to ask my husband to make our dinner, serve it, and clean it up. I am humbled to see the kitchen floor covered in food refuse because I can't sweep it. (Yes, the children are helping, but they are helping tremendously with chores these weeks and sometimes I just have to let things go in order to allow them play time. And my husband is working full-time, taking time off work to take the kids to all their events, and doing much of my domestic work for me--there are limits.)

I can do a little bit of work, but if there are one hundred things that need to be done at home today, I might have to pick ten of them I can do, then lie down the rest of the time. I can type this blog post, but I will pay for it in the currency of pain.

We all have weaknesses preventing our sanctification: one of mine--and I'm far from the only one--is to rely heavily on my own competence and not on God's graces. I can do it! Whatever it is, with enough hard work and determination, I can do it. Watch me shine!

Well, you know what? There's not much left one can do when one doesn't have working hands. One is left to lie there, relying on others, and, through them, relying on God. I am left to reflect on the magnitude of my prideful self-reliance through this difficulty in comparison to those who have permanent disability or paralysis.

"Lord, more pain if Thou pleasest. And more patience."
--Blessed Eustace White (d. 1591)

Patience (noun): the bearing of provocation, annoyance,misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.

Lord, I need some more patience--lots more patience--in these final weeks!