Sunday, February 01, 2009

Friends are Good. Mice are Bad.

So what I really didn't need was to find mouse droppings in my cabinets. Do you know what they had eaten? My pink Valentine's M&M's! I mean, it was kind of the last straw! I felt the need to send my children outside at that point, so that I could violently disinfect my entire kitchen whilst audibly recounting my woes to God. But I am not sure how much good it did me. I Peter 5:7 "Casting all your cares upon him for he cares for you." Right? It doesn't always feel that way to me lately, that "he cares for me." But the Lord is faithful. I do want to say that. I need to say that, to assert it and believe it and trust it. I mean, I am pretty much hanging on by a thread at this point. It seems like even the tiniest things, like tires blowing out after church and pink M&M's being consumed by mice (pointing to a bigger problem- MICE!), really are unnecessary as far as one needing to be humbled or taught a lesson. The whole 8 month unemployment, freeloading off others, stuck with three kids and no break while husband is away 65 hours a week not even making enough to support the family, two cars in need of multiple repairs thing wasn't enough? I just keep thinking that if I ever am a pastor's wife, there will be a whole lot more difficulties that the people in my husband's church may experience that I will be able to sympathize with. 

Compassion really is an invaluable lesson. I am not learning it only by what I am going through and recognizing how these things feel first hand, but also by seeing how it is modeled to me by loving friends. It is also an unfortunate side effect, that we see what not to do or not to say modeled to us. I mean, no one can expect everyone to do the right or helpful thing all of the time. And I am sure that years from now, someone will be in a circumstance very like my current one and I will manage to say a hurtful thing or even just neglect them in some way.  (Sin stinks!)  But I guess my point is something along the lines of what my RUF campus minister told me once (the one I worked for, not the one whose ministry I was part of at Auburn), "what we do in the hardest situations shows us who we really are."  Now, I don't entirely agree with that. I mean, I think we can find a strength or courage or faith we didn't know we had, but I don't think our failings under extreme stress mean that all we are is that sin or flaw. If your life is such that you find yourself more disorganized and anxious than usual, does that make you a definitively disorganized and anxious person? What a crappy way to look at people! On the other hand, I think the way people respond to you when you are under stress shows something about them as well. I have seen amazing generosity, patience, compassion, thoughtfulness, and love that I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to see apart from my crazy situation right now. What a blessing to see people's gifts really shine, and to grow in friendship as a side effect of suffering! In the same way, when one's good friend or family member is in the fight of their life and he does nothing, or worse, judges or makes demands, does this not also say something about the relationship, at the very least, or even about the person himself? 

It's all very revealing. And I regret that I have not been more active in seeking to encourage or aid the broken hearted in the past. And I thank those of you who have actively sought to encourage me- I hope you know that you have done so. It occurs to me that I may not have been expressive enough of my gratitude either (because ugh, I am the worst thank you note writer ever!- though I do realize there are other ways to express appreciation). I am reading a book about friendship right now which has me really reflecting on these things more- well, the book and the mouse invasion that brought me to angry and exhausted tears- and I may have some more to say about all of this (unless you use the comments section of this post as a petition against such). But for today, I am just grateful for friends; and I am inspired to be a better one. 


e.c. said...

ugg! mice! so sorry, Abby! I DESPISE these creatures! when we were living in our yucky apartment in nashville, that was pretty-much the last straw for me too....something like that can really affect your sanity.

still praying for an answer for y'all and a call for George. there must be an end at this very long tunnel! and yes, no doubt these experiences will give you so much insight, wisdom, and empathy with those you will be counseling in the future.
Love, Elizabeth

Wright Family said...

i am so, so sorry about the mice. we had a mouse problem {that eventually brought a snake into my pantry} when we lived in knoxville. it's awful. i sat in a kitchen chair in the middle of the living room in tears and refused to go to bed for fear that a mouse would crawl on me in my sleep:) i think that creatures in the house could be anyone's last straw.

i think that you had some great insights and i agree with you that our real personalities can come out in all different ways, not just in hard circumstances. i have been amazed at how well you have handled your current circumstances. you continually have been an encouragement to ME {and i am sure other friends} throughout such difficult times!

we are still praying that God will call y'all to a church and to a town and home that you will love. and i am praying daily for you as you perservere through long hours with small children and a husband who is working. we love y'all!

Jessie said...

Yikes! Unwelcome pests of any sort are the worst! I will pray for you. Pray, pray. But maybe you should get a kitty, too, now.

jennifer h said...

I'm sure there will be new kitties available to you from a nearby source very soon. There always seem to be. Mice are yucky. I hate rodents of any kind. But it is not based on "dirt" when you live in the country. It is just part of living out there near the woods. An outdoor cat would probably solve your problem.

We keep praying.

Abby said...

rebekah, snake is far far far worse than any little m&M eating mouse! i can't believe you haven't told me that story before! i would be scarred for life!

i think it is so interesting that rebekah, jessie, and elizabeth, and me all found ourselves with mice (or for jessie, they were these disgusting indestructible flies that infested her apartment and forced her to move out!) problems in one of our darkest hours. i guess sometimes God calls in the pests, even in the lives of the faithful! i was starting to feel like a plagued egyptian-i am glad i am not alone in my plight!

jennifer, jessie, you probably saw the above post, but we actually have a cat.

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