I take vacation days to hermit. I choose to not talk to anyone. I watch at least two hours of YouTube videos. I verify all camera and phone photos have been backed up to Google Drive. I sit on my comfy deck furniture and drink chai, or wine, or both. And I do chores: wash windows, dust, iron. But this time, I struggled on my vacation day because I thought I’d choose to be selfless by choosing people. I chose relational time. I chose to “Mary” instead of “Martha.”
And these relational appointments didn’t align. First, I went to Owen’s daycare to help with a project at 10am. Drive home. Then, I went on a lunch date with my husband. But we argued most of the way to the restaurant. Drive home. Go to see the chiropractor because I tweaked my back loading concrete blocks (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post, y’all). I took three separate trips in and around town at three very different times, which I hate. I was feeling really frustrated and exhausted by all this, so much so that I came home from lunch and went straight to bed. Naptime on my day off. That’ll improve my mood.
But my phone rang 15 minutes in. Deal with it, go back to sleep. 15 minutes later, another call. Seriously?! Deal with it, go back to sleep. No joke – 15 minutes later, that sucker is buzzing again. You have got to be kidding me?! No one ever calls me!! I know you’re thinking: just put your phone on silent. But all my mamas hear me when I say, I don’t love doing that when my kid is at daycare because I want to be available should something happen.
I just want to be alone and do my chores! I don’t want to be relational! So I went to do a load of laundry.
But God took advantage of my day off to remind me of his presence – or rather, the Devil’s presence.
I went to pull the clothes out of the washing machine and began hanging them up to dry. One of Jim’s sweatshirts came out with sleeves inside-out. And I was automatically furious. I think, “Why can’t he take 5 seconds to pull his sleeves out? Doesn’t he know it will save me time doing the laundry? I wash his dirty underwear! Can’t he be considerate?!”
As I’m starting to dig deeper into this angry pit, something stops me from falling in. I remembered the grace God gives me is something I know he wants me to extend to my husband.
Uh…left field thought? Yeah, I call that a “GDB”: God-Dropped Bomb. You know, a thought that just comes to your mind and the only way you can explain it as God’s presence and way to get your attention. I firmly believe God speaks to me via thought.
Jim doesn’t have any vices (wait…does hunting count?). He’s a good dad and husband. He just puts his laundry in the clothes basket with the sleeves inside-out. So I told myself to shut up. The devil is always after your positive thoughts. Let God’s Spirit be stronger.
I took some deep breaths (literally; it was intense, y’all) as I gave myself an invisible pat on the back for coming back to the land of sanity. I’m choosing to rise above. I’m choosing to extend grace in my relationship with my husband. I’m choosing to be Mary-like.
Then, I found tiny shredded up pieces of paper. You know, like when a kleenex goes through the wash? What the…? “Why can’t that man just clean out his pockets? First the inside-out sleeves, and now this?! What am I, his maid?!”
My rage grew as I continued to find piece after piece on every article of now clean clothing. And I started looking for a large piece. You know, the kind that would incriminate and prove he was the guilty party of this piece of paper. But they were all so damn tiny!
Then I remembered: I’ve done this before. Not the rage…well, yes, the rage. But I mean…leaving a paper in a pocket, which means I could do it again. This could be my piece of paper. And I’m preparing to go all crazy town on a potentially innocent man.
It’s the Martha in me. So I gathered what very little dignity I had left of myself in that laundry room and chose to move on. And I sat on the deck with a cup of chai.
In sum, what did I learn on my vacation day?
Being relational while trying to be selfless sucks. Especially when you really suck at being relational and make it difficult for all involved parties. And if you’re going to whine about being selfless (like through a blog), then you’re not really being selfless.
Being relational – period – is hard for this Martha, so I think I need to only do it in small doses. If I try to plan relational time during a vacation day or break I’m looking forward to, I need to either let stuff go, or plan less of the relational time.
The devil loves dirt. The dirtier the better! And I think dirty laundry is causing me to connect with the devil. I should probably stop doing it. Except for the fact that I don’t trust Jim to do it (hmm…I may be my own worst enemy and not the devil…). He mostly does it right, but there is always one clothing item that never gets hung correctly and dries with a nightmare crease – usually at a bottom hem. (I’m clearly in a very dark Martha-like place after this vacation day gone awry.)
Which means the devil and I will continue to have a laundry date every couple days. He’s gonna want to take advantage of my Martha-ness. Well, bring on your dirty laundry, devil. Because while I’m obviously not a strong relational Mary, I’ll keep working toward that end. And Mary has chosen what is better (Luke 10:38-42).