For those of you that have been waiting for this blog post, let me introduce you to my husband. He is the drummer who makes me laugh, and cool dad to our 5 kids.
Just one more thing . . .
So, when my wife asked me to be a guest blogger, which is apparently different from a website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, I was a bit intimidated. I don’t like social media very much and I’m certainly not up to speed on the latest trends, socially accepted norms, and ways of communicating without having to actually be present.
As a matter of fact, I felt a bit like I was in a Wendy’s drive thru being pressured to order promptly while my 5 kids shout their orders at me. Jen usually tries to reassure me to breathe and remember it's not the end of the world.
I’m not completely sure why I felt this way about writing, but I think it’s partly due to me thinking Jen is such a great creative writer, and knowing although I do have something valuable to offer, I am worried I won't get my message across. And then there’s the whole thing of it being public. Anyways, that being said, I have taken the plunge and went ahead with my first “blog” on the worldwide web (a.k.a. the internet).
So, I’m coming to terms with the reality that remaining emotionally in control when the pressure is on is still a struggle. That’s right, I’m a man with many struggles –but don’t worry I’m not in Corporate America, so I can publicly admit it without legal implications.
Whether it’s a big issue or small (a la Wendy’s drive thru), I’ve noticed some of the same behaviors. Often times my perception of pressure differs from Jen’s, considering our unique relationship. That's for another blog post.
What exactly happens to me in the drive-thru anyway? Funny as that question may sound, some deeply embedded feelings are worth exploring in how they affect me, and the people who have the unfortunate privilege of being around me when I feel that “pressure.”
I know I am not an imposition, but that’s one of the first feelings that hit me when I don’t have my family’s order together (food, schedule, life-order etc.). I feel the need to apologize as though I’m wasting their time. After all “they” (the establishment -substitute your own here if you want) could find out how dysfunctional we are for not planning ahead, kids screaming, and some guy not being able to form sentences in the English language.
Now that I think about it, I’m probably the reason fast food chains came up with the numbers system when ordering. At the very least, all I have to do is hold up the number four in my hand or scream out “a six, a two . . . no make that three twos and two ones…and go biggie on that one two in the middle.” By that time, I give a glance over to Jen. I am begging for some mercy from her to not make me order any more. But the famous last words always come. I say “you know, I’m sorry,
just one more thing . . .”
It feels like chaos to me, both internally and externally. Shame is reminding me that I don’t quite have it altogether like I should for dad of my age, or maybe this is a reflection of my lack of great parenting. In reality, I know these things aren’t true. Yet, in those hectic moments, I quickly want to start imposing that shame in the form of rules and policies like “We are never coming back here again!” “Stop making a mess!”
Or I just order the same thing for everyone. I immediately want to control things because it feels so out of control.
That response is the opposite of what I really should be doing most of the time. Achieving a balanced perspective in that moment is obviously elusive to me.
Then, I suddenly have this funny thought What if I was the one in the window taking the orders and I saw this guy doing all this? As the van rolls up to the window, I think I would say to the guy, “Bro, it’s cool. You know, you are paying for this. Relax.”
What is the point here? Grace is hard. It is hard to offer to yourself and to others. I think having grace is essential to achieving that balance of perspective, and to maintain emotional intelligence. Religious or not, in moments of chaos, there has to be a way to cling to some kind of grace. For you and for those around you.
Grace is hard. Do it anyway.
Step outside of yourself for a moment to gain a new perspective of the situation. You may be surprised at the grace you can actually have toward yourself.