Monday, January 4, 2016


Today was the first Monday of the New Year. With a well-thought-out set of goals for the year ahead, I was eager to make this first work-day of 2016 super productive.

I got a good night's sleep last night. I woke up this morning well-rested and uber motivated for:

  • Exercise class at 7:30.
  • Return home to shower, change and eat breakfast; then, take advantage of a small window of time before a mid-morning dental appointment to answer email and work on a short writing assignment.
  • Dentist appointment in town, followed by a few errands on the way home.
  • Home by noon to work on additional writing projects and spend time preparing for a speaking engagement tomorrow...

Instead, today turned out something like this:

  • Van completely dead; missed exercise class.
  • Changed out of my stretchy pants, ate breakfast, and sat down at the computer to tackle email. Internet wasn't working, so scratch email.
  • Recruited young son to help jump off the van so that I could drive to dental appointment. Unsuccessful. Borrowed son's car; arrived late to dental appointment.
  • Never mind writing projects and preparations for speaking engagements - I needed to try to figure out what was going on with the van so that I could actually get to said engagement...

I began the day with good intentions. Honestly. But then life happened.

I imagine that there are golden people in this world, people who make plans and then accomplish them. People who consistently check off everything on their daily To-Do lists.

I am not one of those people.

Not because I don't want to be, or because I don't plan, or because I don't try...but because life happens. And my life happens to be rather messy.

So, while I was lying in the dental chair letting Hope poke around in my mouth (how ironic that the technician who cleaned my teeth was named Hope!), I really wanted to be angry about how terribly Not Right my day was going.


My dentist has one of those open office floor plans. No closed doors. So, all us patients are just back there together, humbly submitting to group dental hygiene. Not much privacy, and not a place to be overly self-conscious. While I was in one chair receiving the ministrations of Hope, next to me was...

An elderly man. A disabled elderly man, who came in using a walker and who had a canister of oxygen to help him breathe.

I was hoping that I wouldn't have any cavities. I can't afford to pay to have a cavity filled right now.

My neighbor, he had painful, infected gums, and he was hoping he could have his remaining teeth pulled. No, he didn't want dentures. He couldn't afford dentures. He just wanted relief from the constant pain. "Sometimes," he said, "life is so hard, it just makes you feel like giving up." He left with a prescription for antibiotics and an appointment to see an oral surgeon.

This gentleman gave me a new perspective, got me over my grumbling discontent. I wish I could have given him something valuable in return.

I had a good check up:  no cavities, yay!

I still don't know what is wrong with the van. No exercise class tomorrow, but my daughter offered to drive me to the speaking engagement in North Mississippi.

The internet is working. I have caught up on email, worked a little here at the blog, and submitted a newspaper article for next week's "Homeschool View" column.

I am so appalled at my ingratitude. At how easily I become frustrated. At how grossly I inflate the importance of my plans, my comfort, my needs.

I am so thankful that God meets me where I am, humbles me, bumps me out of the stew pot of self-pity, grants me contrition and hope and a new perspective.

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