I try very – very hard not to focus on the negative (for too long anyway). I try to be positive and to look for the good. I try to seek the silver linings in life.
It usually works. I can almost always find the good in a situation. I can stay pretty positive most of the time.
Stuck in line? Oh well – that just means I have more time to knit. Stuck in a traffic jam? Oh well that just means – I have more time to knit. The doctor is running really late again? Oh well that just means – I have more time to knit. (Are you sensing a pattern here?) The commute to and from the zoo for Jack’s job taking a long time today? This time with our oldest son is fleeting and precious. Jack has become such an intriguing young man! Will telling me about the Titanic for the billionth time today? Wow – our youngest son is passionate about ships and soooooo knowledgeable too. Will has taught me so much in his short life.
But sometimes life sends me for a loop, and I find myself grumpy and in a truly foul mood. Sometimes I get stuck in a bit of a funk.
That very thing happened to me this weekend. Jason and I had a lovely walk on Friday evening. We enjoyed the beautiful late summer evening. I talked Jason’s ear off about life and yarn and my current obsession – the sound of insects. I think the chattering of insects is seriously intriguing. Try sitting outside sometime and just listening to all of the sounds insects make. Truly intriguing – I tell you – really and truly intriguing.
Anyway – after our walk – we stopped on our front porch to retrieve the mail. Jason reached his hand into the mailbox and pulled out a single piece of mail. Jason looked at it. He made an exclamation of dismay and then grimly handed the envelope to me. And as he did so – he said – “I am so sorry . . .”
And in that moment I knew exactly what was in Jason’s hand – it was a stinking summons to serve on jury duty! The last time I received a jury duty summons it was over Thanksgiving and I was 8 months pregnant with Will. And now I get to serve on jury duty in the middle of a global pandemic while trying to do NTI with a 7 year old Will. (Perhaps – I will just bring Will with me to the courthouse – if the kids are still doing NTI?!?! I took Will with me the last time and it worked . . .)
I would be more than happy to do my civic duty – but I am not at all comfortable about being asked to do my civic duty in the middle of a pandemic. Especially since the paperwork vaguely tells me that they are “taking precautions” to keep potential jurors safe – but it does not tell me HOW they plan to keep me safe!!! I am a details person so I found their vague platitudes both troubling and rather insulting. I want to know WHAT they plan to do to keep me, my fellow citizens, and our families safe. After all – the last time I served on jury duty they packed us into the jury room like sardines in a can for 8 hours a day – 5 days a week for 2 weeks. Even pre-COVID-19 – I thought the experience was rather germy!
So – I got good and grumpy. Really – really – really grumpy. By the time Will and I picked Jack up from work on Friday evening – I was really and truly “charming!”
Will suggested that Frostys from Wendy’s might help with my bleak mood. (I can’t eat Frostys – lol!) So Jack and Will got Frostys, and I got a tea. And Will was right – treating my sons to ice cream did help my mood! Life may be annoying – but ice cream is yummy and my sons are nifty. Will is such a smart boy . . .
Saturday Jason, Will, and I did yard work and worked in the garden. I got my hands in the dirt (which I love – love – love), and I felt the summer sun on my face. I smiled every time I saw how hard Will was working to help us and I delighted in the beauty of God’s creation. Again – I still am not thrilled about jury duty in the middle of a pandemic and NTI – but our flower beds are looking so much nicer and our garden is neater.
Sunday after worship and taking Jack to work – the rest of us headed to Broadrun to spend some time exploring and adventuring. And it was lovely there. The sun came out – the flowers were in bloom – and I found myself relaxing and letting go of some (not all) of my concern and annoyance. I spent some time actively seeking the good and the lovely and the beautiful. And you know what – it was really easy to find! It was all around me! There was beauty everywhere I turned this weekend!
I still don’t feel at all comfortable about being asked to serve on jury duty in the middle of the pandemic. I would like A LOT more information about safety protocols. But since there is nothing I can do about it – I am going to try to look for the good. I am going to seek God’s presence and keep my eyes open for the lovely. I am – I promise! Besides when I am in a foul mood and grumpy – absolutely nothing changes and I am miserable – and who wants that . . .
And as Jack reminded me – the 6th Amendment of United States Constitution guarantees the right to a impartial jury. (Boy – sometimes – wish we had never taught that kid to read!!!)
So what do you do when life sends you for a loop? How do you get yourself set to rights again? When your feathers get all ruffled and you are feeling grumpy or frazzled or miserable what helps you feel better?
I remind myself that no matter what this life brings my way God is still God. That I am never alone and that there is always beauty and good in this world – I just need to keep my eyes and my heart open to be able to see it! Then I try to get out into the world and start looking for the good and lovely and the beautiful . . .
You are all in your pastor’s heart, thoughts, and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –