I would say that I am contrite, but I know I'm not there yet; I'm too much of a child. Ironically I am also too much of an adult, which is creating my troubles in the first place, because I am living with two other adults and it is not as fun as Three's Company (luckily it's also without sexual innuendos from John Ritter; at times the fog is so thick that it's difficult to count my blessings, but I'm pretty sure I count that as a blessing every day in my life).
Mom and Dad, if you're holding your breath, don't worry, this post will not put you in a bad light, but rather me.
I have been an ugly person for the last week...month...months...or so. Particularly things have escalated in recent days. This morning I was physically ugly as a result. We all get bags under our eyes when we're tired (duh), extra stressed, emotionally exhausted, or a combo of the three. Well have you ever had "double bags," as I will dub them? Kind of like a double chin, if you're having trouble coming up with a visual. People, I pray this never happens to you. Last night in my distress of being an ugly person with an ugly attitude and losing all hope in humanity and life, I called my big brother Kelly, who is equal parts mentor and big-bad-tells-me-life-is-tough brother. I snotted up a lot of tissues during our conversation, toward the end of which he kept repeating, "Bailey Kathleen, you just need to go to sleep." Well I slept like a rock, but this morning I looked in the mirror and was actually a little disgusted. I have always been low maintenance, I do not own or wear makeup, I wear mismatched colors and styles all the time, so I rarely look in the mirror and think, "Ooh, I can't let people see me like this." But this morning I thought, "I think I would actually enjoy some makeup right now." But I am helplessly and eternally honest, with my heart on my sleeve, so I just schlepped off to work with my double bags (it's even disgusting to think, write, or say those words), ready to explain myself to my coworkers, who were faithfully prepared with hugs and caffeine.
Anyway. Long story short, details removed, I reached the end of my Independence Rope the other day, freaked out on my family, in return they purchased me a gift, and I am yet to say thank you for this gift. Millie, my 10-years-senior colleague who I believe to be my soul sister and who is a mom herself, told me today, "You better say thank you," because she's a mom and she knows these things. But before that I explained to her that I didn't want to receive a gift because I feel wretched and I am acting wretchedly and to receive a gift willingly with such an attitude would be like accepting an engagement ring from a man with whom I am in the middle of a bitter argument. It just wouldn't be right. I don't deserve it, I'm not ready to treat people properly so therefore I don't want to be treated properly. (Honestly, people, these days all I want to do is hide in my bedroom reading a big stack of books. I simply need a social break and a vacation.)
I was driving home about an hour ago and my favorite radio preacher Chuck Swindoll came on and I pulled into an empty parking lot in the rain to let him finish before I drove home. He was talking about anxiety (right up my alley) and the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10. Now this story always excites me but it also bothers me. Like most stories in the Bible, especially parables, I leave them scratching my head. Perhaps that is Jesus' trick to get us to follow Him a little bit longer. "I'll give them puzzles that are impossible to solve and their egos will drive them on..." Chuck only touched on Mary and Martha briefly, but he explained that, basically, Martha has a crap little attitude. He puts it more eloquently and gently than that, but that was his gist and that was the piece this little troll that is me needed to catch.
I always butt heads with my mom more than my dad. And that is no less true right now than it has been before. With my dad my trick is to avoid topics where we disagree, and I find that we have a lot in common, and we are fine, and he gets me, because he is as weird as me. My mom and I actually agree on a lot of things, politically, spiritually, intellectually, cat-lover-instead-of-dog-lover-ly, etc. We also both love Chuck Swindoll, a lot. But we step on each other's toes all the time. So my "trick" with her is one that harms us; I avoid the stepping on the toes, and unfortunately that stifles a lot of conversations that we could be having about books, cats, politics, Jesus. We could have so much more between us but I say no. And this breaks my heart because I know that I am breaking her heart.
And I avoid the toe stepping because getting your toe stepped on hurts. And I can't bear to see my Mom hurting, for the VERY REASON that she has been an amazing mom who has given me so many memories and moments of sheer security and love. I avoid the toe stepping because I don't want my toes stepped on, but I really really don't want to step on hers.
Like I said, it was raining while I sat in my parked car with my Doritos, a water bottle, a pressure-filled bladder, and Chuck. I love the rain. It is my favorite weather ever, always. It calms me, restores me. I have been waiting specifically in the last month for the springtime Kansas rain and for the chance to, alternatively, wear my sundresses.
Often when it rains I remember a night when I was a senior in high school. I was reading my Psychology book, and I was home alone. Mom came home from work and had brought a variety of things from Burger King: chicken nuggets, fries, a burger. She figured she'd raid the menu and we could eat a little bit of everything. It was raining, and Mom loves the rain too, and so we decided to open the sliding door and turn off all the lights and eat in the dark, sitting on the floor, listening to the rain. I can still taste the nuggets; I always can because it such a simple, happy memory for me. I gladly put my book down and joined Mom just to be with Mom. Now I spend too much f-ing time with my books.
Like I also said before, I would say that I am contrite, but I know that I am not there yet. I am not yet humble, not ready to say out loud, looking in their eyes, to my parents, not through them, "I am sorry."
So Mom, Dad. I owe this to you in person, and when I get contrite I will do so, but for now I'll give you this:
Thank you for your gift.
I love you.
I want to try harder to be better, but I have a Martha attitude (and am pretty nonchalant like Mary), and so I am stubborn and don't really know how to get there. And you two are the ones who taught me that only God can get us there.
Chuck finished with a prayer tonight and he said, "He will get you from here to there if you let Him take the lead." Amen!