Lose it and use it

If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. (Mark 8:35)

Marti's now clean counter.

Marti’s now clean counter.

I think I just figured out why I’ve been so irritable lately. Oh, you wouldn’t know because you don’t have to live with me, but ask my wife or my son and they’ll tell you, I haven’t been a happy person to live with.

Even this morning, all by myself, I was irritable. First, I got up late. I must have hit the snooze button four times. Yes, it’s such a great feeling to go back to sleep, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. But here’s the deal: for that wonderful feeling of going back to sleep, you have to endure the awful feeling of waking up each time. And then once you’re up, you’re late to boot. It adds up to a disadvantage. No wonder I’m so irritable; I had to wake up four times this morning!

And then I get to the kitchen only to find that Marti has smeared Comet all over the sink and the counter. She does this once in a while. She works the Comet into a paste and spreads it all over and leaves it all night for me to clean up in the morning. And of course, before I can use the counter to make coffee or stack the dishes out of the dishwasher, I have to get this stuff off. I stare at the blue-green mess and realize I’m staring at 15 more minutes of delay to my already late morning.

It’s not an easy job. The stuff foams up like crazy making you have to wring out the sponge a hundred times. Then you have to take a brush to the grout, because if you don’t get it all out, you have blue-green, Comet-colored grout all day. Of course Marti does this on purpose because she knows she’s going to get her counter scrubbed in the morning. I have no choice. And so, martyr that I am, I begin scrubbing and wringing-out, scrubbing and wringing-out, scrubbing and wringing-out, and cursing my wife the whole way. (If I bang the brush hard enough against the back of the counter, I might just wake her up. Ha! Serves her right!) I am so irritated, I’m irritating myself.

And then I finally sit down at my computer to write and contemplate skipping the Bible reading for the day since I’m so late, but it’s a good thing I don’t, because what I read is this: “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it” (Mark 8:35 NLT).

Oh my, here I am, keeping my life for myself. This whole morning so far I have thought of nothing but me. Me, only. No prayer for my children, no thought of my wife except for blaming her, no thought of all of you, or prayer for you, and no thought of the Lord. Nope, just me, and I’m irritated.

If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it.

I’m losing my life. How long do I want to do this? I suddenly realize this is all up to me. I can hold on to my life, or I can let it go and live for something – someone – else. Might as well lose it. If I keep my life for myself, I’m losing it anyway.

Lose it and use it for someone else. Lose it and use it. I think I can remember that. This is your life: keep it for yourself, or lose it and use it, because once you’ve lost it, you can use it for someone else.

Besides, you don’t get your life anyway until you lose it.

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5 Responses to Lose it and use it

  1. Oh, now that is funny. Hate it when days start off that way. Mine almost morphed into that this morning also. Reality is, it’s just never really “about us”!

  2. Kim says:

    I understand! My morning was like that as well – getting up late, getting to the gym only to find that the one recumbent bike I like to exercise on was TAKEN – how dare they – LOL .. so I had to start on the treadmill instead, etc. … on and on .. and I was also tempted to skip my devotions this morning, as I was running late. But I didn’t … and I even had time for some prayer, in which I asked God to give me the grace to get through the day, and to change me into a thankful person. When we think about it, we are so blessed … I always make time to thank God for my home, warm bed, good friends and neighbors, job, car .. the list goes on and on. By the time I get aways into that list I am feeling better. I find just being thankful in prayer is enough to brighten me up a bit.

  3. Yeah, I have hit the snooze button a few times, but how many times have people hit the snooze button on their life?! Being late in life is better than not living one, just my two cents 😉

  4. 16-hours after reading this mornings Catch…
    My day today started like yours John: late.
    Instead of the nefarious snooze alarm, though, my wife simply forgot to set the alarm last night.
    So, we woke up two hours late to the “meows” of one of our two cats outside the bedroom door.
    I was disgruntled – my wife was humble and contrite.
    After rushing to get ourselves ready, we made it out of the house in under 45-minutes (which is a personal best for her!). Regardless, I pretty much gave her the ‘silent treatment’ during a good portion of our commute – we drive together – and she graciously let me have my space.
    As we were already two-hours behind schedule, freeway traffic was much worse than what we’re accustomed to. So, of course, a major-collision had to occur a few minutes in front of us and, as a result, blocked a good portion of the highway which, subsequently, delayed our arrival to our respective jobs (we work for the same employer).
    I asked my wife to call our boss to let them know we were going to be later than originally anticipated and she, in a barely audible tone, informed me that she forgot to bring her phone.
    So we sat in traffic. Me simmering – she suffering.
    Finally realizing my wife was in no way responsible for the collision in front of us – duh! – and, perceiving she’s been feeling a little sheepish (over the last three-hours), AND my being the “magnanimous” husband that I am (roll your eyes here), I took the very bold step of chit-chatting with her – almost actually engaging in a full-blown conversation, whoa!
    Eventually, we made it to work where we parted paths and went to our respective jobs.
    My work-day went by rather ordinarily, but not so for her.
    When we got together at the end of our shifts, she informed me that her services would no longer be needed after March 31st. She’s been “let go”.
    She was in tears while I drove home and she cautiously asked if I was still mad at her from this morning. What could I say?? No, of course not!
    She followed up by asking if I was mad at her for losing her job. No… just stunned by the news but definitely not mad at her. We drove home mostly in silence but not due to anger or anything – we were simply collecting our thoughts, trying to assess our feelings, and pondering the “why’s”.

    After arriving home this evening, we walked in the house to our son’s announcement that one of our cats – Soda Pop – had died in the garage.
    (I was the last one to see Soda Pop alive this morning and was glad I had been kind to him at that time despite my otherwise grumpy state prior to leaving for work. Why didn’t I treat my wife as kindly as I did the cat??)

    During the afternoon, our daughter had discovered his body – already in rigor mortis – with his claws stuck in a blanket and with what my son described as a panicked look on his face.
    Our son and daughter, in their grief, still had the wherewithal to bury our beloved cat in the back yard before my wife and I arrived home – in fact, my son couldn’t find any of my shovels, so he bought a new one to do the digging.

    Our son (28) – an avowed atheist who has seen his share of human corpses during his military service – was very disturbed by our cats death. He was deeply saddened by the idea that the panicked look on Soda’s face was due to the possibility that our cat died “afraid and alone” – something my son fears most and wouldn’t wish on any creature, friend or enemy (his words).
    Our daughter (23), a recently avowed agnostic, is dealing with her grief with lots of crying, lots of distractions via the internet, and occasional laughter from pleasant memories with Soda; she also wants to run right out this weekend and adopt a kitten.

    I went down to Soda Pop’s grave tonight and said a prayer of thanks to God for the time he’d been part of our family during these all-too-brief 11-years.
    I also asked God what I was to make of everything that happened today, what does this all mean, what should I be learning, how should I be responding, etc…
    I’m not angry or even slightly-miffed.
    Yes, I am sad but not bewildered or overwrought. I don’t even feel confused – more like curious and, for some reason, we’ve been suddenly placed in to some sort of “state of limbo”.

    I left Soda’s grave with no distinct impression or direction but there were some words that came to mind. Admittedly, I struggled with whether saying them would make any iota of difference and, even though my heart and brain agreed they were the right words to say and believe , I still had to force them through my lips: “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

    The day had begun emotionally and appears to be ending emotionally, albeit differently so: More tears this evening, this time from the entire family – and for more reasons than we expected.
    Our somber day doesn’t even compare to Job’s (and many, many others) but, like him, we did not anticipate any of this happening when the sun came up this morning. However. I will repeat… “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

    Hug those you love, even though you may feel they do not “deserve” it, whether human or pet.
    Prayers gratefully accepted…

    Thank you and Shalom!

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