19 February 2010
Picking Your Battles
My mother and I live together and have managed to do this (most of the time, successfully) for the last 12½ years. As a result, I have LOTS of humorous stories I could tell about how we survive, manage and interact with each other. (I do a lot of praying, and so does she!) One of the things I have learned is that the wisest course of action is sometimes as simple as knowing which battles are worth fighting and which are not. I am not always wise, and we will leave it at that. But sometimes I am wise, and as a result, I am blessed. Case in point: today.
In my house, on the kitchen wall, there is a large wall calendar. On this calendar, I faithfully note all appointments, engagements and reminders that are vital to the smooth running of Chateau Smith-Mouzon (the name we christened the house with almost 13 years ago). I pay more attention to the details on the calendar, but my mother is slowly coming around to looking at the calendar before she makes commitments for herself, for me, or for us jointly. So, she knew that I had a 1:00p appointment today to meet a girlfriend for lunch. That did not stop her from asking me to run a small errand for her on my way to my appointment.
Let me pause here and say for the record: I didn’t mind running the errand for her. We didn’t fuss about it, I didn’t throw a temper tantrum. I initially told her that I could not do it because of time constraints, but as I moved through the morning, I realized that I would have a small, miniscule, minute, tiny amount of time to run this errand for her. The “battle” over the errand was because: (1) the errand was one that she had been saying she would take care of for at least 3 weeks, so there was no urgency to the errand and it did NOT have to be completed TODAY; (2) the errand would take me a good 10 miles out of my way on a day when she knew I was already pressed for time; and (3) frankly, I just didn’t want to do it! I wanted to go meet my girlfriend as scheduled without having to rush around to make the appointment. BUT because I am a “good daughter” (most of the time), I caved and made the drive to the ABC Book & Bible House per her request.
Second pause in the story: I have several Facebook friends that I haven’t talked to in a while. Over the last few days, I have randomly sent out some emails to some of these people saying, “Hey, I was just thinking about you. Hope you are ok. Write when you get a chance.” Some people responded immediately, but some (who obviously are not Facebook addicts like me) have yet to respond. One of those friends who I had not yet heard from is a former elementary school classmate – actually, she was a senior when I was in 7th grade, but that is our connection. I have not seen this person in over a decade, so I was very excited when I found her on Facebook and she accepted my friend request. Imagine my joy when I walked into the ABC Book & Bible House and there she was! In person, in the flesh, within hugging distance!
We had a great long conversation, catching up with each other. I was able to express to her face-to-face my sympathies about a recent loss of a loved one, and she shared with me some insight on a prayer call/Bible study that she thought might be of interest to me. In the end, an errand that I grumbled about doing turned into a bright spot in my day and a blessing that I wasn’t even aware I needed. But God knew, and He placed her there, just for me, at just the right time, in just the right place.
As I drove away from the store, I called my mother and told her about the chance encounter I had with this friend. And while I stopped short of apologizing for doing the errand with a less than willing heart and spirit, I did tell my beautiful mother that I was glad for the blessing I received. And all because I picked my battle wisely … this time.
© 2010 Kristina E. Smith