Wednesday, January 15, 2014

guest post // physicister

i'm thrilled to introduce you to our very first guest blog poster! wait... the first guest post blogger? hold on... the first person that's not me to blog a post in 2014? post a blog?

you know what forget it.

and this is why i enlist help y'all!  specifically the help of highly qualified individuals that also happen  to be friends... and in this case family.  my sister (henceforth we will refer to her as physicister, but her actual name is Candace) works as a medical physicist in CA and is, as you can imagine, brilliant.  i mean, you'd have to be to work in that field.  and she's funny. and compassionate and conscientious. and articulate.  

...candace (physicister) is second from the end on the right...

she recently spent a week at my house with her family, along with the rest of our clan.  during her time with us, she connected, rather literally, with our cat Norman.  i'll let her tell you the rest...

Norman is not normal.  He seems to comfortably exist in the quiet assurance that he’s the best cat ever created.  His luxurious orange and white fur coat, lazy glare, and nothing short of stunning girth, exude confidence and dominance.  Norman knows what he wants – to be petted for 5 or 6 seconds, and no more.  When he’s had enough, he doesn’t say “no thank you” with a gentle removal and a swish of the tail like other cats – polite is not his style.  He rules his kingdom with more of a Jabba-the-Hutt school of thought.  When he’s done being admired, you know it from the sudden contact you feel with teeth or claws, and possibly from the dots of blood forming on the plump part of your hand.  And he’s still lying there, starring at you, even purring, daring you to venture in a second time.  On my more arrogant days, his dreamy fur and hypnotizing purring draws me in again, and I catch myself naively thinking, “Ah, this cat just wants to play!  He loves me!  He’s so swee…” – Nope.  My mistake.
I relate to this cat a lot more than I’d like to.  Honestly, my natural tendency is to interact with people like Norman does – claws and teeth ready.  I swear I seem to lie in wait for someone near me to make a mistake, and then I pounce, often leaving a mark.  If someone forgets something that I have no trouble remembering, loses something that I have no trouble finding, misses something that I quickly notice, I damage them with a ready, cutting response – “Are you kidding me?  Don’t you REMEMBER?  How could you NOT SEE THAT – are you BLIND?  WHAT are you thinking?”  Now, I’m not saying I’m always this blunt – sometimes I am, but often I’m more subtle.  My blank, dumbfounded stare is a sword I wield expertly which, without words, says clearly “Uhm, how the heck did you get through God’s quality control system?”  Even my “ssshh” can sound like a whispered insult – a skill I’ve carefully honed.  I use these weapons carelessly around the husband I love, and the children I was put on this earth to protect and encourage.  (Huh.  How did I get through God’s QC?)
When my husband or son can’t find something that I JUST saw, where they JUST were… let’s face it – I don’t even have to think about it – the ridicule flows from me effortlessly.  I might as well add a “Bwoohahahaha!!” in front of my typical response, and rub my hands together.   I might as well run around my house quoting one of our favorite family films by saying, “I’m the best person in the whole town!” – only change the word “town” to “family”.  
My point: When I indulge in the luxury of criticizing sharply and unnecessarily as soon as people near me make a little mistake or do something dumb, when I take advantage of those situations to nurture my pride by insulting them for not being as good or as smart as I am, I’m more like an evil psychopath, or Crystal’s maniacal cat Norman, than the great mother and wife I want to be.  This is something I want to change.   I want to exercise the self-control necessary to respond patiently – the way I hope they will respond to ME, when I’ve lost MY keys.  The good news is, I must not be the first person with this problem, because Jesus addressed this issue long ago, as recorded in Matthew 5:37, which is my family’s memory verse and standard for January (yay!)
Just let your ‘Yes’ be a simple ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be a simple ‘No’; anything more than this has its origin in evil.
I love this version of the verse because it starts with “Just…” – it sounds as if Jesus is rolling his eyes a little, exasperated with me, because I can’t just say, “Yes, baby – your notebook is on your dresser upstairs ☺.”  I’m exasperated with me, too!  I consider how nervous I feel when my large-footed, accident-prone, puberty-ridden, long-armed 14 year old swings a stick near me!  (Yes, he STILL loves swinging sticks around like a ninja… really?)  I hate to think it, but that must be how my family feels around me sometimes – nervous they might get stung if they make a mistake near me.
My weapons ought to be sheathed except when they are really needed, right? – to protect and defend my loved ones, NOT attack them.  I want my STANDARD, for this month and always, to wave in the breeze in greeting to those around me, heralding me ‘approachable’, as opposed to a flag that I plant on the heels of their human errors, in some sort of personal victory each day.  God, please help me find, and then strengthen and hone, the self-control you created me with.  Help me discover and nurture the loving patience you designed me with.  I know these fruits are within me, stifled by laziness, but ready to ripen if I’m ready to work at it.  I want to be the encouraging mom my kids need, and the wife my husband finds it easy to love.


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