Spare Change for your Sunday: Challenging the wisdom of blooming where we’re planted
The bank teller said he noticed how I didn’t have a savings account.
I said I noticed how he didn’t have any manners.
Annnnd I kid.
But I’m glad he stopped there.
“I also noticed how you don’t own your own house and are really at the age where you should. I know you don’t have a firm command of two-digit multiplication or the discipline to follow through on any workout plan more than 3 days in a row, for the love of Jillian Michaels. I see you’re without a strong comprehension of the Electoral College and do not own a single pair of hosiery that do not have ladders streaking up and down the sides. I see you don’t even have a current passport. I noticed you don’t have a lot of gumption when it comes to seeking the things you really want for yourself and you haven’t rolled all the loose pennies in your pockets in ages. And what of greens in your diet–have any? Got Vitamin B? Got a living will? I noticed how you haven’t captured a single Pokemon. I see you don’t have any houseplants–no darling little succulents like all the pinners of Pinterest own–and I wonder if you can even really consider yourself alive….”
On and on he could have observed my shortcomings and inadequacies, forcing a long line to form in the queue of the drive-thru bank teller.
So goes the work of the Accuser. Pointing out all the places we fall short, don’t measure up, will never be enough.
Unlike the bank teller, though, when I approach the One who knows my heart best of all, I see no account balance on my receipt. Only that my debt has already been paid.
I check my Swatch watch when I wake up. It’s darling but it always needs to be wound so the time can’t be right. I putz about the bathroom and find my other watch. Oh mercy.
The kids are both still in their pajamas. They’ve probably watched 286 cartoons between the two of them today.
“Guys, Mommy slept in. It’s already noon. I’m so sorry.”
“We missed my swim lesson?!”
“I know. I’m so sorry.”
“WE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!”
“No, baby, we just wasted the morning. Mommy forgot to set her alarm.”
“Mommmmmaaa, I wanted to go to my swim lesson!”
“I know. How about I make it up to you and we can go to Lake Winnie today.”
The kids are moving in slow motion and all I want to do is reverse the clock, sit down and eat a bowl of granola and drink coffee and not feel frantic. Swimsuits elude us. Applying sunscreen is work.
“What’s going on, Little Man? Can I help you?”
“Mom, I just feel grumpy.”
I’m proud that he has accessed a feeling instead of casting blame.
I sound like a self-esteem manual from 1989.
“Mom, I’m grumpy because I’m sad I didn’t get to go to swim lessons.”
“I know, Son. I hope you can forgive me. I messed up.”
“I forgive you.”
We are walking back to the car. We have laughed, we have floated on the lazy river inner tubes several times. We have eaten funnel cake. We have had a good day.
“Mom, I’m still really upset I didn’t get to go to my swim lesson today.”
I don’t remind him that he got to shoot down a colossal waterslide, drink a giant Icee, and ride all the rollercoasters he could handle for the last six hours.
I don’t tell him that a whole afternoon at Lake Winnie beats any doggie-paddle lesson any day.
Instead I tell him the thing about forgiveness that is so hard to do.
“If you forgive someone, you can’t keep bringing it up. You know just like how God says when He forgives us, He casts our sins into the sea and doesn’t remember them anymore?”
“That’s what we have to do.”
The next day he is unlocking the front door and turns to me as he opens it. “I forgive you for sleeping through my swim lessons, Mom.”
The day after that, he hugs me unbidden and says, “I still forgive you for sleeping through my swim lessons, Mom.”