The evils of today have, so far, been pretty humdrum.
I overslept. The boys decided to have wrestling matches in my bedroom while I worked on my novel. Elsa put off working on her homework until the last minute. There were minor squabbles between the boys and their older sister, and at some point a large quantity of shampoo went spiralling down the bathtub drain.
It’s been No Big Deal, so far.
It’s days like this, funnily enough, that lead one away from God a lot faster than the Truly Terrible Days or the Frighteningly Horrific Days or even the Extra Amazing Days. On those days, you remember the fear and trembling that you’re supposed to be using to work out your salvation. Shock and awe work pretty well to remind us that we’re small players in the great big universal scene. Even if you’re not religious (as I wasn’t for the first 24 years of my life), those days humble you, wreck you, break you down to the smallness of a single unit. They’re the easy days for feeling like there’s something bigger than you, or for feeling like you’re a part of something bigger still.
Days like these, you feel like you’ve got them covered. You can handle it on your own. So there’s crumbs in the bed and everybody ate ice cream for dinner, so what? You’re still in charge. You’ve got the keys to the car and you’re the one in the driver’s seat.
It’s really easy to forget to be humble on days like these, because it’s really easy to forget that you’re in charge of exactly jack shit, so to speak.
Our control of life is pretty illusory. Its like the old saying . . . if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Even my best-laid plans, where I had every angle covered and all the supplies in store, always had something go wrong. Traffic, illness, other people . . . especially other people . . . none of those things respect my pretty plans or even my disaster preparedness contingencies.
We’re not supposed to worry about the future if you’re a Christian. Jesus makes it pretty clear– every day has enough worries in it for that day, so worry about today and let tomorrow take care of itself. Worrying doesn’t accomplish anything. The hours you spend obsessing about the future are wasted hours– you can’t control it. Etc. If I had spent all the hours that I’ve spent worrying about submissions on writing new stories, I’d probably have had a lot more success by now. If I’d spent the hours that I spent worrying about my kids in actually doing things around the house, I’d live in a lot cleaner and nicer house. All my worrying has done is make me unhealthier (because cortisol is NOT our friend in excess) and waste a whole lot of time that I could have used to improve my life.
But on days like this, it’s so easy to forget. There’s enough money in the bank for groceries, the internet has so many interesting articles to read, and the kids are all healthy– there’s nothing really smacking me in the face saying “WAKE UP, STUPID! YOU’RE MADE OF DUST!”
The evils of the day are sufficient, though. God’s given me enough to worry about for today . . . so I can coast, right? No worries. I don’t have to obsess over all the fears I have for the future. I can just go over to the Dollar General and grab some ice cream and watch tv and I’m covered. As a friend of mine once said, Jesus has my back.
Sigh. Except he gave me these kids. I didn’t make them out of some amazing skill of my very own that I carved out of nothing. And he gave me this day– there’s no guarantee that I’ll have a tomorrow. And the complexity of the universe is way bigger than I can conceptualize. Once we get down to quarks and sub-atomic particles doing time travel and whatnot, I start to get really flipped out. Information overload. I’m living this amazing life, which isn’t amazing due to being rich or snorkeling with sharks or having incredible success, but amazing just because I can exist at all. Odds of existing in a universe that largely seems to be empty? Pretty small. Odds of existing in said universe and also having great kids and a novel that’s going reasonably well and a husband who hasn’t divorced my lazy self? Pretty freakin small. It’s amazing.
The evil of today seems to be my habit of forgetting that. The big evil of today is my inability to keep things in perspective and to start thinking that I’m somehow making the world spin along in a nice groove just by worrying about politics or religion or culture. My worries don’t DO anything except make me crazy. I gotta let em go.
Just have to ask for and hope that I’ve got enough grace and mojo and oomph to actually DO that.