Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Complaining at Christmas Time

Okay, we all know we are supposed to be full of good cheer this month, but I am sure all of we moms lose patience at least once with all we have to do. So I am going to take this opportunity to gripe publicly. But I promise I have a point and will end on a positive note.

We just read the Old Testament story about how God sent vipers to punish his people for griping in the wilderness. Moses had to put up a bronze serpent so that all who looked on it would not die of their bites. I am reminded of this as I look behind my computer chair at our Jesse tree with the symbol of the bronze snake.

I hate shopping. I mean, I really, really hate shopping. Especially at times like this when stores are a mob, and I am only there to meet a necessity.

My daughter needed a new winter coat, so I found myself on a long line at Kohl’s today with my single purchase and my toddler standing up in her stroller and whining. The lady behind me on the line had a sleeping pre-schooler in a stroller, whom she kept absent-mindedly pushing into my legs. It took every ounce of restraint I could summon to keep myself from spinning around and say, “Do you really think you are going to get to the cash register any faster by smashing your child into my legs?” A few times she left the child there to go a few yards away and look at another sale item. I took that opportunity to inch away and position myself so the next nudge would annoy a little less.

The upside to my ordeal was that I received a real bargain on the needed coat. The cashier was surprised that I had waited on the line for only one item. Upon ringing up the coat, I remarked that it was only computed as 25% off rather than the 60% advertised. A nearby manager, desperately trying to manage the long line, told the cashier to give it to me at 60% off. He calculated it on his cell phone while I quickly worked out the math problem on a scrap piece of paper. When I got home and looked at the circular, I saw that “athletic” coats were excluded from the sale and so, indeed, this had worked to my advantage.

My daughter happened to have a difficult time with her math homework tonight and I promised I had a surprise for her after she had completed it. This helped out with her attitude a bit, and she was very happy with her new coat.

Last time I was in a complaining mood, my husband commented, “It could be worse. We could have been borne in the Middle Ages during the Black Plague.” Having read about that ordeal in Kristen Lavransdatter, I quieted myself and tried to look for a silver lining somewhere.

And there always is. A good friend of ours is about to be shipped off for Navy Reserve Boot Camp, a few days before Christmas. What was his family doing tonight? Personally delivering food, clothing, and Christmas gifts to needy families on Eastern Long Island. (They run a website called Help for Long Island.) Now that is inspiring.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Phillipians 4:8

1 comment:

Joanna said...

I love this and it is so true!