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OCTOBER 2004
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Cured of S-M-I
By Lynda Schab

I wasn't feeling very thankful. In fact, I was annoyed with my husband, who obviously woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He was grumpy and irritable and blamed his dour mood on allergies. Whatever! My kids had been bickering back and forth all morning, with my daughter twice ending up in tears. The house looked like a tornado had touched down, miraculously demolishing everything inside while leaving the frame in tact. I didn't have anything to wear - my only pair of nylons had a run in them, and all of my pants were in the ironing pile. On top of that, I had the longest, loudest freight train in history, running through my head.

Ugh! Sickness was running rampant through our house. The same sickness we'd battled many times in the past - S-M-I: "Sunday-Morning-Itis."

It was a typical Sunday morning at our house.

Thankfulness was not a front-runner in my emotions department and I certainly didn't feel like going to church. Something I've always hated is hypocrisy and that was exactly what it would be if I went to church feeling the way I did. I’d be a hypocrite. How could I lift my hands in worship and sing songs of praise, when I was stressed-out, frustrated, and angry? Besides, how could I stand next to my husband as he lifted his hands in praise when he had acted like such a jerk all morning! In my mind, the only thing worse than being a hypocrite, was standing next to one!

I stomped through the house, screaming, "Come on, people! Let's get moving! We have to leave for church in FIFTEEN MINUTES!" I rummaged through the ironing pile and chose the least wrinkled pair of pants I could find, then sprinted upstairs to the laundry room and whipped them into the dryer.

"Zach! Lyndsey! Get your shoes on! Comb your hair! Brush your teeth! Now!" The pitch in my voice rose with every command, and I quickly checked to make sure the windows were closed so our neighbors wouldn't call the police. I paused long enough to take a couple of deep breaths. I desperately wanted to crawl into the dryer with my pants and tumble dry my damp, cold mood.

My kids argued their way up the stairs and headed toward the bathroom, presumably to brush their teeth.

Taking a detour into the kitchen, Zach asked, "Can we have a snack?"

"What?! No! You just ate breakfast! Go brush your teeth! Now! We have to go to CHURCH!" I lifted my hands in exasperation. Everything I said was coming out in short, angry bursts, and an adrenaline rush I did not desire. Zach retreated toward the bathroom, the scowl on his face saying more than his words. Lyndsey cut in front of him, using Zach as a shield from her mother's wrath.

Every part of me longed to stay home from church. I could use many different excuses, including, we're running late, the kids are exhausted and crabby, or I have a headache (which by now was excruciating!). I could even justify it by saying, "We'll go tonight". However, I realized that if I did that, he would win.

Who?

The devil. I'd let him win too many times before. It was time to put a stop to the devil's attempts at destroying peace in our home, especially on Sunday mornings.

I pulled my pants from the dryer, hurriedly dressed and called the family into the kitchen. Miraculously, they came with their teeth brushed, hair combed and shoes on. I checked the clock; we were running ten minutes late, according to my predetermined schedule. I sighed, resigning myself to God's schedule.

"I have to apologize to you guys for the way I acted. I think I was reenacting the dream I had last night that I was a volcano." I grinned sheepishly then continued. "My volcanic eruption was inexcusable. I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?"

Of course, they did without condition and gave me a hug to seal the deal.

When we walked out the door, the house was still a disaster, my pants were still wrinkled and my head still hurt, but suddenly none of that mattered anymore. I had a roof over my head and clothes to wear. My headache would soon go away and my husband's bad moods never lasted long. As well, my kids were healthy and, mercifully, forgiving.

By the time we got to church, I was already feeling more thankful. When I did raise my hands to God in worship, I didn't feel like a hypocrite. I felt like a woman given some extra grace and a dose of mercy to cure my 'Sunday-Morning-Itis' – which is truly something to be thankful for.
Lynda Schab is a FaithWriters’ member and freelance writer who lives with her family in Michigan. She can be contacted at Lschab4jc@yahoo.com.
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