This is the first time I have sat down in front of a computer in quite a while. I honestly can’t remember when, probably when I wrote my last post. I’ve been thinking of things I have wanted to write down, but now that I have the chance and a few quiet moments, my mind is like a chalkboard that has been erased. I can see fragments of the words that were originally written, but they are too blurred to make out the complete message.
I was thinking about whether I should tell you about my weekend (and my complete lack of graciousness) or my spiritual longing. Since I believe that they intertwine, I’m going to attempt to share both.
Last week, one of my grandpa’s cousins died. Charlie. He was older, late seventies/early eighties, had diabetes, low mobility (yes, he did have one of those power scooters), and was a very sweet man. He also let everyone mooch off of him for his SS check each month and his prescriptions. He has two sons: a self-reliant individual who has washed his hands of him because of son #2 – a leech. I don’t use that term lightly. I can’t begin to express my feelings of distaste for this individual’s actions.
Since Charlie has passed, we have been in limbo. We don’t know exactly how he died. Speculation includes: overdosing by one of the moochers that lived in the house with him, a delayed reaction from the accident he had on Monday (and was busted out of the hospital with his hospital gown still on), and old age. His body was up at the coroner’s office for nearly a week. His son stole the money out of his wallet after his passing and spent it on who knows what. He has no immediate family members willing and able to take care of arrangements in a timely manner and will have to be cremated. We can’t put it in a nice urn, because Son #2 would likely hock it.
I’m not joking.
So, on Sunday, we had family from California come in to see Charlie’s body (before we knew about the cremation, although the body had been in the morgue for 5 days already) and to be a part of the funeral. They parked their camper in our front yard, which I’m totally cool with, and walked in the house. For two days, all Grandpa, Todd, Belle and I heard was yelling, cussing and extreme ruckus. Belle didn’t get to nap. My mom comes over, we get upset with each other, and before we can finish talking it out, they come knocking on the door wanting to use our showers and take over the kitchen.
I didn’t say anything negative, but inwardly I was done. I wasn’t gracious. For the first time in my life I didn’t want to be welcoming, I wanted peace. I didn’t care that they had traveled so far and would like a hot shower in something bigger than a camper. I was tired of listening to yelling. I wanted my baby to nap. I wanted to be able to do my laundry and sit in silence.
They left Monday.
My week hasn’t really improved so much because it’s been hectic and I’ve been feeling guilty for being selfish.
How do I get to feel entitled? This isn’t my home.
This morning I decided to read a little from the gospels. I’m so far from where I should be, and my lack of graciousness is the tip of the iceberg.
Luke 18:9-13 (New International Version, ©2010)
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
For many years, I have been the Pharisee, regardless of whether I intentionally planned to be or not. I justified so much of my own behavior based on what I did as a Christian. I’m at a point in my life that I don’t believe that I have the justification to act that way, despite of my education or training.
Have mercy on me, a sinner.
That’s my prayer this week. This lifetime. I’m in such dire need of grace.