I panicked this week. I ended up shouting at my ex on the street. It was horrible.
I was out of ideas. I could not think fast enough how to counter preposterous comment verbalized as calm reality. I just couldn’t think fast enough to refute soberly what was declared as fact. So I screamed with rage and insult.
And the children were there. Who are fully aware. Watching, seeing, hearing, listening.
It was awful, and shocking.
And in response afterwards I panicked about what I must do to stop this ever happening again. I felt desperate, horrifyingly on my own and wholly responsible to create an effective boundary to prevent a repeat performance. Ever.
I have been on this particular battlefield for a long time now. I have good days and bad days. I have days when I can look back on my responses and my actions and think, “Classy, well done. You backed away, you didn’t speak, you took the high road.”
And then there are examples like this week.
Later as I lay on my bed staring in muted fury at the ceiling, I asked the Lord what I could learn from it. And He told me this: “Where pride gives up, grace remains.”
What does that mean? Well, you see, I want to be dignified through all this conflict. I want to take the high road. I want to be mature and Godly and, honestly, I don’t want to get tarred with the same brush – “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
However, there are times on these mighty seas where my boat appears to be taking on so much water I resort to desperate measures. I grab whatever comes to hand to beat back the waves.
Do I keep calm? Are you kidding?! In these moments I’m not keeping calm! I’m just surviving. And – I have to remind myself – the whole point is to survive. Survival is victory. Not the manner in which I achieve it but the fact that I will have done so.
This incident confronted me with the truth that – of course, Josie! – it won’t always be pretty and I won’t always behave as I would wish BUT… at the end of the day I will still be here. I will still be functioning and able to continue on. Only with the immeasurable advantages of greater strength and less encumbrance.
As I reflected on the incident, my greatest grief (apart from the childrens’ witness) was about my own behavior. And this realization broke my pride. I had engaged. I had allowed myself to become so publicly naked, so nakedly desperate, and so childishly aggressive. As if I should have known better, could have done better. HA!
And with the breaking of pride came breakthrough. The platform I had been standing on looking down on my opponent cracked and broke beneath me. Shame and disappointment crashed down on my head and I fell and fell and fell to the hard ground beneath.
Which turned out to be the Rock of grace that had been there all along.
Waiting for me to land.