Today was one of those days. I started to wonder what I did wrong! First of all, I’d planned on having a “Mary Ann” day. A day dedicated to the pursuit of Mary Ann’s happiness. I don’t get very many of those and I just wanted one!
The day started out great. I got my kids and my husband out of the house in prodigious time. Check. Next it was my mom’s turn. She stayed over because she had minor eye surgery the day before. Two weeks earlier she had the first eye done and it was no big deal. Not so much today.
At first I didn’t take great notice. She took her time packing up her stuff as I sorted laundry and started a load. Ambitiously, I even decided to dye a load of faded jeans and the like in the laundry tub. I left the clothes to soak for a few hours, to allow the dye to set well. In the meantime, I threw together supper—using left-overs to produce a delicious pot of cream of potato soup.
It was then I noticed my mother’s pale and wan features. She wanted to help cut up veges for my soup, but her vision wasn’t very clear and I wondered how she would drive home in that state. When she asked if I could take her grocery shopping, I weighed my options for a moment. Realizing that I could get a few of my own errands done in the process I readily agreed. Besides, I can hardly say no my 80+ mother who just had eye surgery—I’m sure there’s a rule in the mother-daughter hand-book somewhere.
Our first stop was the grade school. I’d been putting off making copies of an important document for my husband and today was the day he absolutely had to have them! You guessed it; on arrival I found that the copier was broken. In an effort to save the day I went to Staples and found they wanted a buck a page, since it was on my memory stick! I needed 20 copies of a 16 page document—you do the math!
I gave up and did groceries with my mom. Wandering through the aisles confirmed in my mind the need to offer her a lift home. Her vision needed another day to heal before she hopped behind the wheel of a car. Once we finished all our errands, making alternate arrangements for the document, I headed to my mom’s.
On arrival, I helped bring in all the groceries, hooked up a digital TV converter, and completed a host of other little tasks. When I finally looked at the clock, I couldn’t believe it—the hours had simply slipped away. Yet it wasn’t hopeless. There were still a few free hours before the kids would come home. Perhaps, I would have a Mary Ann afternoon instead of a whole day—it would suffice. Just as I finished up and got ready to leave, the phone rang.
It seemed inevitable that it was for me. After exchanging pleasantries with Ken’s mom, she explained that some family was visiting from The Netherlands and they wanted to pop by for tea that afternoon. I groaned inwardly, did a mental walk-through of my house and agreed. It wasn’t that I didn’t want a visit—I love my family! I just didn’t understand why it was so hard to have a little time for myself!
I raced home, dragging in several bags of groceries. Once inside I did a mad dash to tidy up, put away the groceries, tidy up some more. Then, with a few minutes to spare I headed to the laundry room to switch loads of laundry. I wanted to get my washed load out into the sunshine!
Entering the gloomy room, I flicked on the light and froze. I couldn’t believe my eyes: The once-full laundry tub—the one I’d added blue dye to that morning now sat drained. Navy-blue water dripped from the pipes beneath the basin creating a blue river on the cement floor running straight to my pile of white laundry. Yes, you heard correctly—impossibly I’d somehow managed to dye my whites BLUE!!!
Ignoring the knot in my stomach as time was of the essence, I disregarded the inky blue mess of clothes in the basin and scooped up the dripping blue mess that once was white laundry. Replacing the load in my washer, I liberally added a large amount of bleach in the process. Then running upstairs I continued my mad-clean-the house-dash hanging up one load and preparing the tea and cake, just in time for my guests arrival.
Their visit helped me forget my laundry tub woes for the moment. Then after they left I went to tend my soup. It needed some spicing-up! I hemmed and hawed then took out the salt grinder and held it over the soup. Instead of sprinkling in a little, the lid fell off and the entire contents of the salt-cellar plopped into the soup! I gasped and then whimpered in defeat: it was time to call the cavalry. On the other end of the phone Ken made commiserating noises and promised to pick up some KFC.
As I waited for Ken, a buzzer sounded in the basement and I went to examine my blue-tinted-white laundry. Toting the basket up the stairs I stepped out into the sunshine to hang up my laundry. During my peg-the-laundry-to-the-clothesline time of reflection, I staged a pity-party in my head. All I wanted was one day for Mary Ann—was that so hard?
Just then a thought stole into the back of my mind—those words were somehow familiar. Doesn’t God just want one day from me? One day for God. Is that so hard? I looked up at the sky and sighed. He really had me there.
Mary Ann, who is one of God’s creatures, is crabby because she can’t have a day of Mary Ann-ness. Yet God, the creator, who really merits the whole one day thing, can barely get an hour out of me. And the amazing thing is God wanted to share that day as a sort of gift to both of us. One day, so that I would actually slow down long enough to rest. One day, so that I would connect with him on a deeper level, grow my relationship with him, and if nothing else, worship him. Huh.
Well, that was the end of the “poor, poor me,” thing that I was running with. I finished hanging up the laundry, my mood a little lighter, ready to laugh at life’s little twists and turns. A good thing to, since the craziness wasn’t done. Soon after my fire alarm started blaring: I forgot about the bacon frying in my oven (it was supposed to go with the soup!). And as for that KFC? It came back to haunt me later on, and I spent the evening with a bucket close at hand. But by that time, my perspective had changed. God took a day I had set aside for myself and put me to work serving my loved ones. I learned once again that its better when I keep him at the centre of my life—everything runs a little more on key.