The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

13 April 2012

Of tantrums and tea

I am attempting to tame the savage beast with a steeped tea (large, 2m 1s) from Canada's favourite hockey playing coffee drinker.  It's either that or hit the mental rewind button one more time to watch my slow decline into a solitary temper tantrum. A grown woman having a tantrum is a pitiful thing, but nowhere near as sad as having a complete and total emotional meltdown when there is no one around to see it happen.  How indulgent.

Do you ever hit the rewind button in your mind so you can watch yourself again?  My moment this morning was prompted by being asked to do something at work.I reacted like Patricia searching for her tic tacs while stuck in the elevator in You've got mail. I actually heard myself make that "huagh"  (or huuunh - real annoyed-like and dragged out) which means "Everyone but me is totally unreasonable; life is so unfair; nobody knows my woes."   I keep playing the scene over and over in my mind.  I'm fascinated and can't help but slow down to see every detail, like my fit is an accident on the side of the highway.

Understand: it isn't being asked to do something I mind.  I like being helpful and useful - don't we all?  It's being asked to do something I don't happen to think important, or relevant, or necessary.  I thought it was dumb.  I even said so in the midst of The Episode.  A grown woman using a word like dumb as justification for her conniption is sad.

For the last four hours, I've been puzzling over what prompted my bad attitude.  Clearly I need to grow in virtue. I need more patience.  I need to see interruptions as opportunities rather than impositions.  But I think at the heart of the matter is my foolish, thick-headed pride.

I know I'm not a bad person, and we're all doing the best we can; that we're meant to keep on growing in this life, and that Jesus came to save the broken not the perfect.  But I also know that my pride is a fierce and stubborn creature. I came face to face with my unredeemed self this morning, and I am humbled by the depth of my need for the Cross and Resurrection.

Even now, I'm baffled by my reaction this morning.  Yes, I'm tired and a little stressed - there are any number of reasons for why I was less than stellar but frankly, they are merely excuses. I keep thinking of that story about Therese the Little Flower, in which she was being splashed by dirty dishwater, and she rejoiced in it. That is so not me, and with my cheeks still warm with the memory of my petulance, I have a hard time imagining I will ever be close to having her level of calm acceptance.

In an earlier post I mentioned that I hadn't prepared well for Easter, but one thing I did manage to do was hie my hiney to confession. Father's counsel to me was to lean on God's help, to turn to Him for everything. I long to be so perfectly conformed to His will that I don't need to remind myself hours after the fact to 'offer it up'.  I want to be so closely united to God that His strength is my strength all the time - not just in the moments I remember to tap into it.

Dear Lord, 



And so I took myself off to the hockey player's coffee shop at lunch time, to drown my sorrows - or, more accurately, my chagrin - in a bucket of tea. On my way back into the building, I passed under several towering cedar trees, warmed by the sun.  One of my favourite things in the whole world is the scent of sun-baked cedars.  That moment was like my own personal rainbow, God's message to me that while I did wrong, He loves me still, and will not forsake me. It was a reassuring and comforting pat on the head from my Father, and I can now leave the shame of this morning behind me, and try again.

Christ is Risen!


  1. I identify. Thank you for putting it into writing, and so well. I'm older than you (yes I am), and have lots of those in-the-elevator moments to look back on. I wonder if, at some time or another, every of us has been every one of those people in the elevator? Hmmmm...

    Thank God that He, if we let Him, removes the rewind button. Christ is risen indeed.

  2. Oh, Nancy, thank you for your comment! During the aftermath, I was trying to imagine myself within the walls of a monastery, to quiet my unrest. I wondered what the response of a cloistered heart would be... but even that didn't talk me down!

  3. I want to be so closely united to God that His strength is my strength all the time - not just in the moments I remember to tap into it.-Tess

    Don't we all Tess, don't we all. I struggle with that all the time. We all have a 'dark side' as my daughter calls it. Don't be too hard on yourself though. As a matter of fact Tess, consider yourself blessed that you are aware you have this "other" self and that you are trying to do something about it by approaching him in the sacrament of confession. The other option is not caring at all. We do what we can with what we have, and we know we have Christ.