Jack argued about practicing his strokes at the usual training of his swim team that evening. In addition, that particular day I was obligated to appear at three appointments during the morning; and if that were not enough, Debbie, another member of my family, suddenly decided to watch a local soccer game in the chilly damp weather -- just one more trip. None of these happenings were things you couldn't deal with, but they all contained aggravating undercurrents.
Jack's hesitation concerning swim team exercise can be expected occasionally, but in my mind, I dredged up all the other activities he rebelled against. Jack would rather watch television or play a video game. And he seldom wanted to complete his homework without a fight. When you add all that together, along with his latest endeavor to get out of performing at the pool, it proved too much.
The next issue on my repertoire of frustrations that day was that of my three appointments -- one right after the other. Lots of people have three appointments during one morning, but this time things went awry. My first two obligations came and went without a hitch. In fact I had extra time left because I finished early. I thought I could possibly get finished with the last one promptly and then I would have the rest of the day to do what I wanted. No way. That was not the case. My last appointment was delayed two and a half hours. "Well, so much for that desire," I mumbled to myself.
Then the third interruption came while I was sitting in the waiting room of my last appointment. Debbie called wanting to attend the soccer game. Despite how vehemently I tried to persuade her that it was too chilly and rainy and a school night as well, she refused to be convinced. Another side to my argument was that neither school participating in the game was her school.
"You have plenty to do at your school," I told her. But I relented and my husband took her to the mall to meet her friend. "She could be doing a lot worse," I rationalized, even though she may come home with a raging cold and sopping wet from sitting out in the damp cold drizzle."
When I finally arrived home at four o'clock in the afternoon; I breathed a sigh of relief. "Wow, what a day." I couldn't say it was a bad day because Jack went to swim practice, I finally finished my engagements and Debbie arrived safely back home after her soccer game. I think, without a cold.
I was modestly proud of my reactions to all the misplaced plans of mine, to Jack's complaining and to Debbie's impulsive and unreasonable request to be taken to the soccer game, regardless of the cold and rain and the busy day for everybody at home. I tried to keep my cool and realize how comforting I could be to those I dealt with if I thought less of my inconveniences. I needed to realize that those people had nothing to do with my exasperating, messed up appointments. I could survive.
Everybody has upsetting days. Regardless of how hard you try things will not always go as you've planned or expected. "Neither will everyone always like you. There's a trait in human nature that says in spite of how nice, or talented you are, some will still dislike you." (Norman Vincent Peale)
When you experience unpleasant days or meet people who, for no particular reason, refuse to warm up to you, hang in there. Realize that you are a child of God. God doesn't make junk, and you can handle anything if you choose to. The important thing is to continue to love and maintain confidence in yourself. And most of all, trust in God.
Ellen Shuck holds degrees in psychology, religious education and spiritual direction and provides spiritual direction to people at her office.