Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Slapped in the Head

Monday morning. After dropping off my girls at the bus stop, I drove into my driveway and reached for the garage door remote. It was gone. It is normally clipped to my sun visor, but it wasn’t there anymore.

Keep in mind that it was 7:30. I was up at 5:30 that day and had already been to the gym, whipped up some French toast and gotten two tired girls ready for school.

No shower yet, and I was locked out of my house.

Did it occur to me that I had just used the remote to close the garage door before going to the bus stop? No. I was in full panic mode. It was easier to assume that my husband took it.

Pre-caffeine logic told me that perhaps his remote didn’t work this morning. In his haste, he grabbed mine…thinking that I would be home all day and wouldn’t need it.

I laughed a little and decided to forgive him, and drove to town to get my remote from his truck. On the way, I enjoyed a little holiday music. I patted myself on the back for being so patient. (“Yes, I am a good wife. I am very patient. My husband is fortunate to have such a patient wife. He should realize how patient I am.”)

It was a bitterly cold day. I got out of my car and flipped up the hood of my jacket. That’s when I felt the garage door remote slap me in the back of the head.

It must have fallen into my jacket while I twisted around to stuff lunch money into the girls’ backpacks.

I never got angry. It seems like that red monster is no longer a big factor in my life. It takes a lot to rile me up.

I didn't feel embarrassed either. I called up my husband and told him how silly I was.

But in the final analysis, it seems that two old dogs, Judgment and Pride, are still hot on my trail.

I immediately assumed that my husband took the remote and inconvenienced me — the residue of past wounds. And when I reacted with patience instead of anger, I felt soooo proud of myself. ("I am such a good and understanding wife.")

Phooey. No wonder I couldn’t find the remote. I was blinded by judgment and pride.

Whenever we think we know someone soooo well, judgment tells us to always expect the same result from them. People don't change, judgment says. We don't see evidence to the contrary because we are too busy looking for evidence to keep them on the naughty list.

And whenever we feel the slightest sense of superiority for our views, knowledge, talent or "selfless" acts …that’s pride, baby.

We end up blind, deaf and lame. Locked out of the house. Shivering in the cold and stinky from that workout.

After this latest misadventure, all I know is that I don’t know anything. Somehow there’s peace in the not knowing, the not judging, the not assuming. There is peace in seeing every person and experience with fresh eyes day by day.

Try it with your kids, your love, your friends or co-workers. It's more refreshing than a slap in the head!