I called my mom twice this week to tell her I was moving to Australia. Remember that little book about Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Um, yeah. That's me this week.
I won't belabor you all with the details. I will tell you that I've spontaneously burst into tears several times over the last 48 hours.
And as if life weren't stressful enough, I'm hosting Thanksgiving at our house tomorrow. Why would I take this upon myself, you ask? Well, I WANT to host Thanksgiving. I really, really want to.
I'm not a great hostess. I'm not a great hostess for a lot of reasons. Our schedule is irregular. Our home is teeny-tiny and far away from everyone I know. I'm a lousy housekeeper with an unchecked clutter issue. And I always say the most candid and bizarre things that probably make my guests feel like they are on Dr. Phil.
But here's the thing. I love hosting people. Despite my obvious inability to do it well, I do love to try. I really love gathering folks into my home. I love feeding them. Our life is so crazy that I don't get to do this often. So when the holidays come I am always happy to volunteer.
This leads to all sorts of unintended mania. I get these grand ideas in my mind. I think I'll be able to polish our floors in an hour and craft perfect homemade candies that look like reindeer. I get giddy with the thought of two complicated desserts. I'm like a pent up river of entertaining energy that bursts out uncontrollably each November.
But I have a two year old. I have a full time ministry. I have a husband who works 60-75 hours a week. I should scale back. It's only reasonable. But I also have an unrelenting desire to make a rolled pumpkin sponge cake with cream cheese frosting. I insanely press forward.
Then bit by bit my week gets busier. Things come up. One by one I have to surrender my dreams and slash things off of my "perfect Thanksgiving" list. I get tired just trying to do the basics. I get stressed. I get...resentful.
Tonight as I was home alone scrubbing a huge mound of dishes from my day's worth of cooking I thought, I hate Thanksgiving.
No, no, no. I LOVE Thanksgiving! I am so so so grateful! I'm a grateful, happy Thanksgiving hostess!
Ummmmmmmm. No you're not.
It's true, I sigh. I'm not. I'm tired and grouchy and want to burn my house down.
I hate myself for not beating the eggs enough resulting in a not so spongy sponge cake. And I hate myself for being the crankiest Thanksgiving hostess this side of the Mississippi. I wanted the day to be perfect and I wanted to be perfect.
I cried into the pile of dishes wondering if it would be crazy to try to rebake the cake. I cried because even though I knew I had a lot to be thankful for I didn't feel thankful for one squatty thing.
I heard the rational voice of my husband saying, 'Jame, it's just one Thanksgiving and one cake.'
OK, fine! I thought. Screw the cake. But me, what about ME!?! I'm still an ungrateful crabby pants.
And then something magical happened. I lifted my head and knew exactly what I was thankful for. It wasn't family or friends or anything normal like that. Though I know deep down I AM thankful for all those things.
But what I was thankful for as I hovered over that brimming sink was this: Not only did my home and table not have to be perfect, I didn't have to be perfect either! God loves me, loves me, loves me even when I frown and can't seem to get my fruit of the spirit together.
On my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days He doesn't walk out on me or kick me out or take away my seat at the table. I'm always welcome. Even with a heavy heart and a wearied, disappointed spirit.
This Thanksgiving I'm simply thankful that Jesus loves me even when I'm not thankful.
And I wish I could tell you that changed me and made me beautiful within...but I'm still kind of resentful and crabby. Yet I feel a semi sense of peace and a little glimmer of hope that He'll help me change with time. And maybe a piece of chocolate and a glass of wine will help too ;)