Wednesday of this week was a beautiful day in Northwestern Pennsylvania. I woke up early, did some reading and hit the ground running. I got Howard and Luke off to school and then I got the rest of us dressed and sent the little ones out to play on the deck while I brought things outside for thorough cleaning. I spent the entire morning and early afternoon scouring and scrubbing. For me, cleaning is therapy. When my heart is unsettled, I take it out on the house. I find relief somehow in the scent of Method Cucumber Melon cleaner, it soothes me as I frantically scrub and scour tiny sticky fingerprints from everything.
I then made the kids lunch, got Hope down for nap and Ben settled for rest time and I got to work on dinner. Once I had dinner done I jumped in the shower and got myself ready for Luke's baseball practice and then church. I packed bags and got things organized and was feeling pretty darn good about things. I almost felt like I had it all under control. The house was sparkling, I was dressed and primped, the bags for practice and church were packed and by the door and I still had a few minutes until Luke's arrival.
I set the table and began getting things gathered for dinner. I had just pulled the bagels out of the oven for bagel sandwiches and was reaching up into a cupboard high above my head to get the deep fryer down when Luke walked in. I looked over and smiled at him. I felt accomplished. I asked about his day and as he began to talk I lost my grip. I had used the oil the night before and put he fryer away with the oil in it as it was still fresh. As I fumbled the fryer tilted forward toward me. And then it happened...the oil spilled out and hit the top of my head and began running down my face and suffocating my joy. There was oil everywhere. All over the counters, cabinets and floors I had JUST scrubbed, all over the stove I had just cleaned with a toothbrush, and ALL down my head, face, and clothes.
Luke stood there stunned and I stood there the world blurred by the oil in my eyes trying not to completely lose it. Luke looked at me carefully, trying to judge what I was going to do next. I laughed...not like, funny haha laugh, but the inappropriate, I really want to scream and cry but I am going to laugh anyhow kind of laugh...the I should probably be in an asylum laugh. I stripped down to my underwear so as not to track the oil through the whole house, grabbed kitchen towels and skated on them back to my bathroom carrying a bottle of Dawn. Luke laughed as I am sure it was quite a sight and asked if he could help clean up. I told him I would take care of it and that he should go start his reading.
I jumped into the shower for the second time that day, which has to be a record because usually I am lucky to get ONE. I washed and washed trying to get the oil out of my eyes, nose, mouth, hair. I stood in the shower tears streaming down my oily face trying hard to find something to thank God aloud for. "Thank you Lord, that Hope is sleeping right now so I don't have to worry about her running through the pond of oil on the kitchen floor. Thank you Lord, for soap and water...." I got out of the shower but could still feel a film all over me and I now had NO time to dry or flat iron my hair. I added some product, attempted to scrunch it. I threw on an old tshirt and shorts so I could go begin cleaning. I smelled like a salad and I felt defeated.
We were out of paper towels. I threw the shirts I had been wearing in the garbage as there was NO saving them. They were so saturated they would for sure not be worth the effort. I picked up my favorite pants and began to douse them with Dawn and put them in the sink. Howard walked in. He saw me on the floor, tears streaming and he knew I was struggling. He hugged the kids, came over and bent down and began helping me sop up the oily mess. He said, "Kristy, I know you are frustrated, I know this has to be very disheartening, but it is okay. I will clean up, please go take a few moments and collect yourself and get ready for church." I protested. "What about dinner." He assured me we would figure it out and gently nudged me toward the hallway.
I stood there in our bathroom looking in the mirror and wondering why on earth I fail so badly when I try so hard. Tears fell again,tears of frustration beaded up and streamed down my hot face. It was just an oil spill and it was minor in the grand scheme of life, but my heart was so broken. I had spent the entire day trying so hard to have everything just so, I wanted to be organized and I wanted Howard to come home to such a different scenario than what he walked in on. I was disappointed in myself. Who keeps a deep fryer on the top shelf? (A mom who doesn't want her kids to get into it) I breathed deep. Thanked God that there was no permanent damage to anything and for such a fantastic husband, and got myself ready.
We ran through the drive through (gasp) on our way to baseball and then headed to church. When we got home we gave the kitchen another once over to remove any remaining residue and we sat down to talk. I thanked Howard for how he handled things. He was just what I needed to defuse the situation. He is never easily frazzled and jumps right into my troubles with me. I am so blessed to have him.
As we talked, he asked what I was doing prior to the Bolte Oil Spill of 2011. I told him that I was just trying to have things ready so our evening could go smoothly because we had so much to do. He smiled. He said, I think God did it. I laughed. "You think God dumped a vat of oil on my head?" He insisted it seemed too random and coincidental. He told me to give it some thought. I had a vat of oil poured over my head there must be some significance there.
I sometimes feel like the harder I try to do things the harder I fail. I think sometimes I work myself into a frenzy trying so hard to make things perfect that I forget to include the Perfect One in my plans. I get wrapped up in myself and what I can do and my to do list and I forget what He is capable of and what might be on HIS to do list for me. I forget that I don't need to run around like a mad woman all the time. I need to rest in Him. I need to let him take the reigns and direct my path and yet as a "do-er" I tend to spin my wheels frantically trying to move forward on my own and in turn I get nowhere. I felt like the entire day I had spent ALL of my time working hard, preparing dinner, cleaning the house and primping myself. ALL of those things were undone in a moment. I felt like the entire day did not matter. I might as well have set on the couch and watched TV all day eating bon bons!
So, I am not sure if the Lord was teaching me a lesson in taking a breath and really enjoying my day and spending the bulk of my days doing things that cannot be undone such as reading, studying, playing with the kids and letting them make the fingerprints instead of frantically erasing them, snuggling with them and having fun, things that really matter or if he anointed me ;), but a lesson was learned and I am eternally grateful that He always gives me perspective and has given me the perfect person to walk this weary land with because Howard blesses me more than words can say.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.
Oil of joy...yeah...let's go with that. ;)