Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Opportunities To Improve...The Bubble Story

Have you ever heard something that totally changes everything? 

Maybe it was some preacher on the radio or TV (do they still have televangelists??). 

Maybe you read it in a daily devotional, or saw it on some annoying Facebook inspirational post.

For me, it was in church.  Isn't that what church is for?  Score one for church!!!

Here is what was said that socked me square between the eyes & left me sitting in my seat wondering if everyone could see my shame & humiliation:

"Remember that your children need as much mercy & grace each day as you do."
I know. 
Take a minute.
  Read it again.
  It's a cold glass of water to the face, isn't it??
He went on, of course, to include spouses & others that we come into contact with on a daily basis, but THIS was the one that got to me.
I would love to say right here that I have always known & done this & then go on to tell you what wonderful successes I have had with my kids as a result.
But I can't.
*Hangs head in shame*
The crazy thing is, I KNEW God KNEW I got it. 
He was looking right at me when I heard it & then said,
 "YOU GOT THAT?????  GOOD!!!" 
So much pressure when you KNOW that you have just been shown your ugly self in a personalized hand mirror.
So.  Now that I have established that I had an "A HA" moment in church last Sunday, let me give a pristine example of how God made sure I was paying attention.
Picture this:
Mom tells child (not named in order to protect the guilty innocent) to load dishwasher & start it after lunch. 
Story Background:
This has been unnamed child's chore for pretty stinking close to eternity, but child has EXTREME difficulties in remembering to do the job, therefore leaving us with NO clean dishes for dinner (remember, we use our entire set of multi-chipped, mismatched dishes at each meal).  In order to drive this chore into the said child's memory, many weeks of hand-washing (Mom!!!  Really??  I have to use my hands????) have occurred.
Back to my story.
After reminding child of their duties, Mom goes to lie down with the babies youngest children because THEY need a nap EVERY day.  Ahem.  It makes THEM nicer people in the afternoon.  True story.
I digress....
When Mom rises, cheerful & refreshed, she enters kitchen to see....bubbles. 
{LOTS & LOTS & LOTS of bubbles.}
Mom freaks.
(Please read this in calm, even tones as this is how I want you to think I did it....)
"What, exactly, was your thought process here????"
"We were out of dishwasher soap, so I put dish soap in there."
"No kidding.  Ummmm, why didn't you ASK if this was an ok substitute???"
"You were sleeping."
"Why didn't you just not start it since we were out of soap????"
"Because you always get upset & I didn't want to spend a month washing dishes by hand."
THERE.  Right there.
Did you see that?
THAT, my friends, was a healthy slap of guilty truth right across my face!!
Would someone PLEASE put down that incriminating mirror????
The child was correct, and respectful about it, even.  I do get upset.  I like things to run smoothly, like a well-oiled machine, which is why God gave me 8 kids (note to self:  do future blog on God's sense of humor.)
When those words were uttered, I saw ME.  And I was embarrassed.  Then it happened, the words that were slammed in between my eyes the day before began dancing before my eyes.  This was my opportunity to show some grace for the mistake that had been made.  It was an honest mistake & one of those times that you think to yourself, "Self, why didn't you ever say that ONLY dishwasher soap is to be used in the dishwasher."  Oops.  My bad.  The child truly didn't know.  The child was trying to follow through with the job.  The child didn't want to be in trouble.  The child needed mercy.
Here it was:  OPPORTUNITY.
I had the opportunity to do this right.  So, I changed my tack.  I looked for the humor. 
WELL!  THERE IT WAS!!!  This situation was FULL of comedy!!! 

As I sat there surveying the massive quantities of bubbles, and wondered how do you clean this stuff up???, I realized that I had seen this only in movies.  And, they are just GONE in the next scene. 
Unfortunately, movies aren't a reliable source of reality, because, I didn't foresee a scene change coming up.
I sent the kid for the shop-vac & as the said kid was preparing to suck up foam, I pointed out two new truths about their life:
1.  You now know all soaps are NOT created equal.
2.  You have just given the family permission to LAUGH about this for the remainder of your days.
The kid & I laughed together at the validity of these two statements.  Ha Ha Ha.
The kid started telling me what I could do to help with the clean-up, to which I laughed (we were, after all, already at the point of seeing the humor in the situation) and replied,
"Ummm, NO.  I wouldn't want you to be robbed of the valuable lesson of cleaning up this mess."
I'm cool like that.
Object lessons ROCK!!!
Today is a new day & that SAME kid will be home in a few hours, and will MOST LIKELY need more mercy today as this kid is particularly needy in this area. 
I hope I remember BEFORE I freak out, because THAT would be progress!!!