Tuesday, October 31, 2006

the voice of my complaining

Yesterday morning I did something I have never, ever done before. I gave another motorist on the highway the universal gesture for disapproval. I was driving to work, navigating the beginnings of rush hour traffic. There is a two lane exit that merges onto the highway running through the valley area I live in, and cars that are taking the exit are supposed to be in the left lane, or prepared to merge left. I was in the left lane, wheel to wheel with a huge truck that wasn't speeding up or slowing down. So, being the good defensive driver that I am, I gave him the right of way to merge even though I didn't technically HAVE to. Being, though, that he was quite a bit larger and heavier than my own car, I felt it was prudent, so I did. Well, at the moment the two lanes turned into one, another car whipped past me behind the truck and cut me off. I laid on our little weeny horn as long and hard as I could, and then gave him (or her) my goodbye greeting.

I guess it all started before that. My mother-in-law was scheduled for open heart surgery that morning, so my husband left it to me to hold down the business fort while he stayed at the hospital. I was more than glad to do that...in theory....but when the actual time came to get up with him in the wee hours of the morning, see him off, wait and get our daughter up, see her off, and then get myself into work, I was feeling put out. I have no idea why. I work with him part-time, so what I was doing was not anything outside of the ordinary. I was just irritated as heck and did not want to go. Maybe I resented the fact that I HAD to go. I was so out of sorts by the time my drive ended it was hard to concentrate. Then I looked at my work bench and it was full. There was not a half day in sight. I faced a steady stream of things that demanded my full concentration, plus phone calls and reports from the hospital. I didn't want to be bothered but I had to be.

I started to pray and ask for patience (man, I cannot get away from this subject!!). I'll admit I acted like a spoiled child, heavy sighing, throwing instruments around, telling myself I'll just go home when I can't do any more. I have my own car, so I can go any time. But I knew really, I couldn't. If I did it would mean another half day back the next day, and my husband needed me. I just voiced my complaint before God, and apologized. Seems like the whole morning was that way. I kept talking to Him, pouring out my frustrations. Then somewhere in the day I began to get a rhythm going. I noticed I was talking less and working more. Before I knew it my husband was back from the hospital, everything was fine and I was almost done. I even volunteered to do deliveries for him.

I got home wanting nothing more than a hot shower and the washing machine to do my filthy clothes because I had forgotten to bring a smock, which at first was another cause for complaint, as was the lunch I forgot to bring and I had no money. But my daughter came home from work hungry, so I got her dinner, tried to eat myself and the phone rang. It was long distance, a mutual friend who I know is going through some things. He's very mellow and doesn't complain ever, but this time I heard it in his voice-frustration over everything, a stream of constant events that would drive a sane person crazy. Finally I was hearing some normal emotion over them, and I understood perfectly. Every other sentence was, I'm fine and really doing well, but...and then another totally stupid situation he was facing. In the Psalms David had no trouble complaining before a holy God. I've heard that that is one thing totally unique to the scriptures and our faith. We actually believe He cares about this daily "stuff" and hears us. Complaints and bad feelings are recorded in our book of Life. I, for one, am grateful. I did apologize about the aforementioned bad gesture, but I have to admit, it sort of felt good exercising my voice.


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