Thursday, January 25, 2007

Choosing A Or B... But Choosing

The short version: Saturday is Naomi's birthday, and well, we were going to have her come over tomorrow to celebrate, but something came up with Tom's job, so we asked Naomi to drive over today, like, in an hour, instead.

So I zipped around the house and cleaned, not that it was in bad shape, (aside from the boxes and bags for decluttering which are here and there), but well, Naomi has been known to comment upon any one tiny thing which I've appeared to let go beyond a normal amount of time. And ok, that's probably sad that I feel a little threatened by that, but it's one of those things I just live with. It's not a big deal.

So anyway, there I was straightening a few rooms, cleaning the bathroom sink and mopping the back entryway and then I placed her gift into a gift bag and wrapped the one Tom had given her. You know, things like that. And then Tom and I sat together in the cozy room and watched tv for five minutes before she arrived.

You won't remember this, but last year on her birthday, things ended on a sour note. This year, they began on a sour note. She came into the kitchen all stressed-out and as soon as we all sat at the dining room table she said, " It would be nice if SOMEONE," (meaning me), "would leave the back door unlocked even once when you know I'm coming over,"(her hands had been full with the baking pan she was returning and she had to use her keys with cold hands... it was 12 degrees outside, etc.).

To which I replied that yes, I had forgotten this time, but I've often remembered before to unlock the door. Lots of times. To which she replied that I had NEVER left it unlocked for her. Not one time in nearly 2 years.

Good grief. For, like, the last twelve years this has been my test. This thing of Naomi's memory being so negative that--out of 100 positive, fun things--she will remember only the one thing which went wrong. (No easy pill for this mother who wanted her daughter's childhood to be one endless string of happy memories.)

Some people are, simply, just that way. At least until they allow God to change them and release them from such negativity. And I have seen God make those kinds of changes in people so I know He's certainly able.

But until that day arrives for Naomi, my test becomes this:

How will I react to her negative frame of mind when it involves her remembering my part of the situation incorrectly?

A.) Will I become all defensive? Will I sit there for an hour insisting I am right and she is wrong? Will I sputter and pop while trying to convince her that things weren't the way she remembers them? Will I stalk off into my room like a five-year-old? Will I, after she leaves, spend the next few hours illustrating my insecurity by cleaning the house until it shines and making all sorts of plans to, not only be perfect in areas of my weaknesses, but to never, ever be caught again by Naomi at any oversight? (All of which I've been known to do...)


...B.) Will I remain calm... rest in what I know to be true... spend extra time with God... and then pray He will do for both Naomi and me what I could never do in twenty years? Will I help someone else who's hurting even while I'm in pain, instead of crawling into a corner to nurse my own wounds?

Over and over I have to consciously choose B., because (over and over) my natural inclination is to go with A. Nearly always A. is my knee-jerk response.

But thank goodness---thank God--He gives me power to override those pesky natural inclinations, though usually only after I give up my right to obey them.

I can't have it both ways. I cannot act like a sulking, insecure child and be at peace with my heart and with God at the same time.

Trust me. I've tried.

Go with God and go with B.

The rest of the visit went fine. I tried very hard to choose B. and I kept making notes of all the kind things Naomi does for us (which are many). For it is true--actions speak louder than words.

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