Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tipping the scale

So I've been itchy, sniffy and cranky this week (not necessarily in that order, but at the moment my stupid back is driving me nuts, so that's most on my mind).  When I am cranky, my first target tends to be the legal giant whom I live with.  Our kids run for cover, but he stands and takes it, like the man he is.  Says things like, "Guess I'm in the doghouse again," which doesn't actually do much for my mood, though if I was quick-witted enough, I might toss him a blanket and send him out the door to the actual snow-filled doghouse on the back deck.  Unfortunately, I don't think of this at the right moment.

My attitude, as crummy as it's been (you try living in snow after a week in Paradise, see how you like it!), has made me think of lists.  Now, I like to say that I don't keep lists, that I don't take notes about people I love and make checkmarks off against them when they mess up.  But that's a lie.  I keep lists.  We all do.  I know the tiny things the Beve does that always annoy me, and the things our kids don't do that make me mad as well.  I could type out those lists without even thinking.  Things like leaving condiments on the counter after using them, hanging towels over the backs of dining room chairs.  Being late--that's written in giant letters on my list.  Just ask him.  In fact, Beve's sense of timing and mine are so different that I go to my default mode of annoyance so quickly, that sometimes I get mad when he isn't late at all.

Just tell me, if I didn't keep lists, how could I ever pepper my sentences with "always" and "never" the way I do? And what would I do with those spaces if I stopped using such absolutes?  No, don't answer that.  I'm not proud of this tendency in me, but I have to tell you, I don't think I'm alone.  I think list-keeping is part of the human condition. 

But I keep other kinds of lists as well.  Lists of all the things Beve does that amaze me, the traits I so admire in him I can hardly believe such a good, kind, thoughtful man is the one I share my life with.  The way he goes out of his way to care for others, taking them food, or other treats. The way he's such an intentional friend.  For instance, he decided that for Lent this year, he would contact one person from his past every single day.  He started yesterday by calling his high school basketball coach, who always called Beve a 'rabble rouser,' and 'hawn-yowk' (sp?).  And when it comes right down to it, the lists don't balance.  Who the Beve is far outweighs who he isn't.

Here's the other truth.  The deeper truth. The Psalmist asks the pertinent question: "If He kept a record of sins, who could stand?" I know that when I'm so grumpy, it's usually (always?) about me.  If I began to list the flaws in myself, that even Beve overlooks, it'd be so lengthy I'd run out of paper. To think of what God sees...well, it makes me shudder!  The thing is, God has a list too.  He knows everything I am, everything we all are.  He doesn't turn a blind eye to our flaws, He sees them clearly and pointedly.  However, across that list, is a giant red X.  One that says "Cancelled."  It's written in blood, the blood of the Lamb. 

I'm grateful for that list of God's.  Really I am.  I'm glad He really knows what I'm like, that He sees me with all my foibles and flaws--my sins!--and doesn't count that list against me.  He tips the scale by His Love.  It's just that simple.

It's a lifelong lesson to learn to cancel that annoying list, to tip the scale the other way.  But I'm itching to be changed.  Sniffing for transformation, mad to be more like Him every single day. So, at least for this moment, I'll turn my eyes from that list, and look only at the other side of the scales.  Toward the good.

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