Friday, February 5, 2010
loseth not thy cooleth
Monday found Kenz and I driving to Taylorsville to deliver a wedding cake. We left a frosting strewn kitchen and oh so carefully loaded up 4 layers of wedding cake in the Camry. I was very focused and slightly intense as this wedding cake was different from most. The bride (Kenz’s old friend) had wanted a ‘vintage’ cake ala ‘80’s style. Ivory colored with lots of ornate piping and frosting flowers on the side. I did not want it to get squashed or smashed en route as it would be a real pain to repair.
So I drove carefully and slowly. I rounded each corner gingerly and eased over the bumps with extreme caution. But the driver behind me was having none of it. He gunned his engine and sped by me to pass. Kenz informed me, “that guy is really ticked at you, Mom. Did you see the crusty he shot you?”
Well, I didn’t see the crusty per se but I did see him shake his head in exasperation and then look with angry eyes in his rear view mirror once he had passed to emphasize his annoyance.
I take great umbrage at this guys uppity-ness. I’m thinking, he’s to blame for not understanding that I’m carrying precious cargo. Why if he only knew, I think smugly, he would be humiliated at his rush to judgment.
Holy mote/beam! I wish I had a dime for every driver I have called less than respectful names or questioned their intelligence. I wish I had a penny even, for every petty annoyance I have acted on.
This is, I have come to realize, in large part because I am always in a hurry. I have to hurry to the store, hurry to the bank, hurry to church. All the time I am in a hurry. I have no patience because I am in a hurry.
This hurrying thing, this lack of patience with it’s resultant put-out-ness at life’s slightest irritants, it’s no way to live. Yet I habitually choose it. I am annoyed with the neighbor’s dog who barks, or the person in the express check out line who puts 11 items on the belt instead of 10 (and yes I counted) and ld, well, sometimes his music can really bug me.
And then today in my reading I came across this:
Col 3: 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
We are to bear with one another. Clothe ourselves with patience. Be long-tempered, as opposed to short-tempered which is what I am when I lose patience quickly and blow up in anger. Patience has to do with having a fairly long fuse, being able to absorb life’s annoyances without exploding in anger.
It’s interesting, when Paul talks about what life is like outside of the Savior, he describes it as an angry life. In verses 7-8 he says that outside of Christ what you find is ‘anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language’
8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Lots of short tempers, lots of anger. The angry life. Get rid of such things, Paul says in verse 8. Take off all those angry old clothes, and put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Fruits of the spirit.
As if Paul is not enough to condemn and caution, there's this:
Thus, as I have watched myself and others, it is sobering how readily we trade inner peace for something less, for some sort of upset. How readily we take offense and then escalate disturbance around us. How easily we have unsatisfied expectations of how others should treat us or what they should be doing for us; and we grow cold or irritable to retaliate for this real or imagined slight. How eagerly we may insist on being right at the expense of precious relationships. Thus keeping the water rippling around us with negative energy, we are often not at rest, or at peace, in the principles of tolerance and love, of overlooking, of letting go, of forgiving.
I have found that when I am not at peace inside, I make trouble around me. I even look for trouble—picking at this, complaining at that, practicing abuse on my loved ones. I may yield to self-pity, which causes me to withdraw, licking my wounds, waiting for someone to fix what is really my responsibility to fix inside myself. I think self-pity may be a sin, because it functions to violate the spirit of at-one-ment and the power of faith. I have asked myself how long I could last in Zion. How long would it be before I single-handedly dismantled Zion?
--Catherine Thomas, "Zion and the Spirit of At-one-ment"
(The rest of her most excellent talk can be found here: http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/transcripts/?id=35