Brow furrowed, I sat in the last row of the bleachers. Texting my sister, I leaned back against the wall and stretched out my legs taking up the seats as if I owned them. My posture and disgruntled demeanor fit in well in a high school, I mused. Later, standing alone outside the double doors leading into the gym, the scowl still covering my face, I realized how unapproachable I looked. I caught the eye of another mom and smiled. There, that felt better. She came up and started chatting and slowly my bitter attitude slipped away and my tight lips loosened into easy laughter. Now, that wasn’t so hard was it? Somewhere in the back of my mind a little voice, quiet but still discernible, whispered but you’re mad, remember? your kid got the raw end of the deal, remember? stop smiling as if it’s ok…it’s not. As I continued talking to the other mom, the voice diminished and the anger dissipated and a happier Patty prevailed. Thank God.
But some people only saw the slumped mom avoiding eye contact and grumbling under her breath about her son’s playing time. They didn’t see happy patty. They only saw crabby patty*.
Could I have a do-over? A Mulligan would be nice about now. How about a time machine?
And I really wish I could blame my behavior on low blood sugar, but I can’t. I let someone else’s choice get under my skin and bother me so much I didn’t look like me anymore. Everyone has bad days; I get that. But some people let bad day pile onto bad day and pretty soon the furrowed brow is the only face they make. I don’t want to be that person. And I bet you don’t either. You know, the person you avoid because they’re just going to complain or tell you about the latest injustice done to them or their kids. Ugh. For that hour on those bleachers in that gym, I was that woman.
So today I’m hoping in the words Paul spoke to his friends in the town of Philippi: I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished. And I’m trusting that next time I’ll recognize the crappy attitude a little sooner.
*yes, yes, I know