Life resumed to “normal” this past week as I went back to work on Monday, and the kids returned to school on Wednesday. After a couple of weeks of no schedules to keep coupled with some travel, rest, and relaxation, needless to say, I was aware of the contrast. I certainly felt the ordinariness of life this week. Meals needed to be cooked, laundry completed, lunches packed, and work duties demanded attention. On top of these responsibilities, my allergies kicked in with a vengeance this past week.
Since becoming a resident of Texas, I have found I am allergic to Cedar (technically called Juniper) trees which grow in this area. From December until the end of February, the tree pollinates which is the source of my misery. I did a little research when I first started experiencing problems two years ago, and found that there is more to dislike about this tree than just the fact that it causes me itchy eyes, sneezing fits, and a stuffed nose. Many ranchers and farmers do not like Cedar because it is not native to Central Texas and it takes water away from vegetation that is native to this region. One website I checked summed up Cedar like this,“The juniper really has no redeeming value: it is poor firewood, it is a poor landscape plant, it is a poor source of food for native animals and it is poor wood for construction.” Need I say more?
I was reminded again that I live in a broken world where death and dying happen all the time regardless of whether or not the calendar says, “Christmas.” Fellow co-workers lost loved ones over the holidays or are in the process of watching a loved one die. As for myself, my own sinfulness wasted no time in showing itself (not to suggest that I was perfect over the holidays!). I lost my temper with my children several times. How quickly I resort to yelling a few familiar phrases on school morning such as, “Hurry up! We are going to be late for school,” or “If you don’t get out of bed now, I am going to leave you!” I found myself irritated at Brad for staying in bed in the mornings while I was up trying to get myself ready along with two sleepy kids. He didn’t have to go back to school this week! Things really get tricky when I don’t feel well. Not sleeping well at night is a recipe for disaster for me. Patience? Graciousness? Are those really virtues I should aspire to? My humanity stares me down and reminds me how far I have to go.
Yet by God’s grace, I forge ahead knowing I will probably yell at my kids again this week or find something else that Brad does that irritates me. I will probably use an entire box of Kleenex this week and have some rough nights of sleep to boot. Where does that leave me? Clinging to the God I know, whose Word reminds me of his steadfast love, and who promises to forgive me even when I mess up yet again.