I won the Positively Absolutely Worst Mother of the Year Award just last week.
Just when I thought I had it all together, just when I thought I had it all under control, the bottom fell out on a beautifully sunny day. It didn’t matter that I had been in good form all day, moving from responsibility to obligation to commitment with ease and unusual energy, confidence even, bouncing to and fro like the sun’s rays. It didn’t matter that I had made the children healthy lunches, made it to a meeting on time, or even made the bed. No, no.
What mattered was the faulty time entered in my calendar three weeks prior. What mattered was that the musical showing was not at 7:00, but at 1:45. What mattered was that I had missed the signs and nudges throughout the day, all trying to get my attention to point me to the right time. What mattered was that, while I sat through that meeting, my daughter was performing her role as “Cat” in the school musical.
And what mattered was that my baby came home in tears because no one was there to see her.
While I sat through the meeting, thinking about the special family dinner we would have that evening, thinking about getting her ready in her costume, thinking about seeing my whole family watching her perform on the recorder, play the Orff, and sing her little feline heart out, I hadn’t a clue that I would need my best friend to comfort me on what was supposed to be a joyous evening. I hadn’t the slightest notion that I would be sick with shame at having let my daughter down on her important day. And I didn’t know that I would start to think a lot about rocks. Again. (Being human, this was nothing new.)
What I did was not intentional, unethical, or even immoral, but it wasn’t perfect. I wasn’t perfect. My life seemed quite the opposite that afternoon, the worst part being that my imperfection radiated from my personal epicenter and shook those closest to me. And while I felt like soul-crushing stones of all shapes and sizes were being hurled at me, quite deservedly, from a million different angles, a little voice stepped in and quietly said, “Stop.” Then the voice continually increased its volume until it became a sharp shout, because rocks flying through the air make a surprisingly thunderous sound. Anyway, a cease fire resulted, and the stones dropped to the ground from midair, before they could ever hit me.
In the quiet that followed, the voice proceeded to imply that I am neither the first nor the last to mess up in this life, on this planet. So no one, least of all me, has the right to shame me for my faults with rocks, boulders, or enough grain-sweetened-carob-covered almonds to make anyone sick. (Just saying.)
So at this point I figure one of two things is possible: either Jesus befriended me that day by thwarting an internal stoning, or I am a crazy person who talks to herself.
(By the way, our neighbor actually recorded the whole musical, which my husband and I watched that night. And as God’s grace would have it, he coincidentally zoomed in on our daughter and captured all of her performances up close and personal. You’d almost have to think it was actually Jesus Himself filming for us, being the good friend that He is.)
Yesterday at our Good Friday service, we reflected on Jesus as Friend of Sinners. We heard dramatic monologues of the Woman Caught in Adultery, the Woman at the Well, Zaccheus, and the Thief on the Cross, all portraying how Jesus befriended them despite their faults and shortcomings. Jesus consistently befriended those who had no friends, no one to speak for them, no one on their side. He was their friend then, and He is ours today. Jesus was, is, and will be friend to all of us, the unsurpassable proof being the torturous sacrifice He made on our behalf, ultimately overcoming what put Him on that cross so that we might be free.
artwork by artist He Qi