Unhinged

By:  Jana Greene

Yesterday wasn’t one of my best days.

I woke up with a headache and other tell-tale signs that it was “that time” of the month.  Granted, I’ve had a hysterectomy – but the one remaining ovary I own is in total denial and tries to “keep up with the Joneses” – the Joneses being the three other young women I live with.

Grumph, I thought, getting out of bed.

Somehow, mysteriously, all of my pants and jeans had shrunk two sizes over the course of a few days, so that nothing would fasten.  Pulling on sweatpants, the waistband felt tight.  I would feel like the magician’s assistant all day long – the one for whom being cut in half at the midsection was a paying gig.  Except for me, it isn’t.

I looked in the mirror to find that my face had become an obstacle course or sorts, with wrinkles and zits competing for the gold medal.  Team Zit was winning.  I dotted some foundation over them, which managed to magnify the blemishes and settle into the wrinkles.  I felt myself starting to cry, but decided to be angry instead.

Sometimes you have decide to be one or another.

At lunchtime, I enjoyed a perfectly lovely meal with some ladies whom I am getting to know in a business capacity and maybe even a friend capacity.  One of the topics of discussion had been meditation, which to me – is finding a Happy Place in your mind and hanging out there for a while.  Ironic subject today.   My Happy Place is in the presence of God, which honestly – in my mood – I didn’t think I could find on a map.  I felt like God was avoiding me, and I didn’t much blame him.

Later, while driving my 20-year old daughter home from work, she started an argument, which I was happy to keep going.  Living with grown kids is its own special brand of challenge, since they have had longer to become proficient at pushing  buttons.   Normally, I like to fancy myself a loving mama bird gently nudging my babies toward the edge of the nest, where they will spread their wings and soar into the wild blue yonder.

Today, I was more like a cranky public transportation driver who wanted to shove her out of the bus (destination: Independence) and yell – while waving my fist in a very non-nurturing way:  “Oh yeah?  Well you can walk the rest of the way to adulthood, Missy!”

I felt myself becoming more and more….well, unhinged.

“You act like your estrogen will never run out,” I actually said to her, menacingly.  “It will, I tell you!  It willlll……”

Making me even grumpier is that on some level, I realize how trivial all of these problems are.  They are First World Problems.  Middle-age problems.  Bad economy problems.  They are not the biggest issues I face, but they all conspired to storm the castle of my spirit at once and my defenses were down.

I hadn’t spent much time with God in prayer that morning; my defenses were not what they should have been. I hadn’t read his word at all – I hadn’t armored up with the belt of truth described in scripture –

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. –  Ephesians 6:14 (NIV)

Today, I felt armed with only  The Sweatpants of Bloatedness and the Pimple of Doom.  How could I fight this mood without even dressing for battle?

I had been in a rush to accomplish a dozen meaningless little things – straightening up the house, running mindless errands – to try to distract myself from myself.  Thinking maybe if I ran around enough, I could outrun the little black cloud of hormones and the grumph. 

At the end of the day, I finished up some work and ate some chocolate (detrimental to the waist and the face, but good for the soul).  I talked to my husband for a time and did some writing and felt just a little better.  And I read some scripture, because I remembered it hinges me back together.

I felt better because I gratefully remembered that God is present in my unhingedness, too.  I don’t have to go looking for his presence on a map.  He is omnipresent, and he gives grace big enough to handle me on my ugliest days.  He doesn’t mind hanging out, even when I finally allowed myself to cry.  Sometimes you have to decide to accept grace.

And that’s something to meditate on.