I’ve been a little bit of a Grumpy McGrumperson of late. (This written as she snaps at the small child debating the ownership status of a particular stuffed monkey.)
I haven’t been grumpy ALL the time, just a little bit, and I think it’s fair to state why.
You see, we have girl staying at our house at the moment; one of my work colleagues had to unexpectedly leave her home, and was unable to find another, seeing as she is leaving Darwin in a matter of weeks, so I kindly offered her the use of our spare room/office/junkroom. I had no reservations in doing this, though more than one person asked me if I was crazy, and stated matter of factly, that they could not, nor would not do it. For me, it was a bit of a no brainer; here was an opportunity to show compassion and meet an actual need, with not a great personal cost to myself. Why wouldn’t I do that?
A few weeks in, and it’s not going as swimmingly as I had planned. Not because of her, but because of me.
Turns out, I’m a real introvert who needs time away from people to recharge; this was not new information, but seeing as I’ve managed to work out a routine that makes this possible, I had kind of forgot how necessary it was. Having someone in my home, who wakes up and wants to chat the minute I have sent my kids to their rooms for quiet activities and alone time, has been stretching me to my utmost capacity.
It makes me more than a little grumpy.
It wasn’t until I saw this awesome diagram on FB yesterday, that I really understood why. An introvert uses all their energy from being around people, unlike an extrovert who gains it (like my chatty roomie.) The introvert needs down time to recharge, which I just haven’t been getting.
No wonder I’m exhausted.
All this is happening at the same time that everything else is (isn’t that always the way?) Last week was the week of my two eldest girl’s ballet concert, so there was a lit of to-oing and from-ing to the city getting them in for rehearsals, and then of course, the actual performance. Younger siblings were unwell, and getting to bed late, and so more inclined to push my buttons than usual.
On top of this, Thursday night saw me answering a fairly serious phone call, that had me wondering if a friend of mine would actually make it through the night. Thankfully they did, but I missed a fair chunk of sleep up praying.
There was also issues at work that saw me called in a number of times early or when I wasn’t supposed to be there, and trying last-minute to organise someone to watch my kids for an hour until Boatman could get home. It was all crazy busy and more than a little exhausting.
The thing is though, I mostly coped all right.
The busy-ness of everything is actually something I thrive on, and I work well under pressure. I found I was coping quite well with the driving everywhere, the extra hours at work, the ratty three-year old, the feverish five-year old, and the late night counselling sessions.
It was just when I was at home, begging for some down time, and not getting it, that I began to fall apart. And when I fall apart, I do it in a grand fashion.
In one moment, I can go from seeing the joy in serving other human beings, feeling compassion at their plight, and being thankful for the blessing of their confidence, to a narky cranky b**ch, who will see something wrong in anything. And I mean, literally anything.
But yesterday, as I was stomping around the back yard to the washing line, complaining about everything and everyone under the sun, a thought occurred to me: When we first meet someone, we feel so privileged to know them, and we enjoy the perks of our relationship. As time goes by though, depending on how that relationship progresses, we can very soon begin to see the person as an obligation, and not what they actually are.
I mean think about it; we do it all the time. With our kids, our spouses, our work colleagues, our family…. all these people who we do life with can easily become another thing on our to-do list, if we fail to recognise that any person who enters our life has the potential to bless us. Even if that blessing comes in the form of our own attitude in dealing with them.
Monday night saw me called into work unexpectedly, and unhappily. I was in my mood, and cranky at the world. But wise words from one friend, and a heart-felt apology and sincere thank you from another, forced me to change my thinking. Yes, I am an introvert who needs space and time to recharge. Yes, that means I need to set some boundaries to keep myself sane and safe.
But more than that, I am a human being who is blessed beyond measure and has the ability to rise above my pettiness, and show love to others in a way that is meaningful and eternal. I have the ability to meet certain needs, but even more humbling, I have been asked by wonderful people for that help. I may miss out on half an hour of time for me, but if that half an hour can be invested in some one else, haven’t I actually received something so much greater? Isn’t the point of life to give more than you could ever hope to get?
Aren’t we meant to love as hugely and unrelentingly as possible?
Even when it’s hard?
Even when we don’t feel like it?
Even when we are grumpy McGrumperson?
Sometimes, I feel like life is not going the way I want it to, and everything is getting in the way of my happiness. Until I remember, that my life is not about what I can get for me, but always about what I give to others.
Let me never forget that again.