Self-Pity is Chocolate Cake
Self-pity is so delicious.
I find it's my favorite spiral. It allows me to count all the ways I have been wronged and treated unjustly, and it's the perfect way to justify all my anger and bitterness swelling up inside. It leaves me feeling miserable, yes, but at least rightly so.
I was savoring a little self-pity this morning as my daughter wailed in the backseat of our car. She was supposed to go to daycare today, and I was supposed to have a fun ski day with colleagues. But last night she was running hot, a cough began erupting from her lungs, and her nose started to drip endlessly. So I stayed home, and she stayed home, and instead of shredding the slopes I sat and listened to her scream angrily.
I so desperately wanted to wallow in my seemingly constant string of cancelled plans and dashed hopes. There has been so much of that lately, it seems. I wanted to cry but couldn't even do that, because I've grown so apathetic that I've simply come to expect disappointment.
We went out for some fresh air and when we got home, we sat in the driveway for a while as I tried to work up the energy to go inside. I picked up my phone and checked Facebook, then Instagram. I just wanted to procrastinate for a minute, but then I saw something that interrupted my scroll-and-wallow sesh. Someone had shared an anecdote about Ukrainian parents who are now sewing their children's blood types into the tags of their clothing before sending them to school. It gave me chills. The horror of it was so great I couldn't even comprehend it in my mind, but my body responded subconsciously to the deep wrongness of it. I shuddered against the evil.
I put my phone down and prayed. When I looked up, Vivian was staring back at me in the mirror. Her blue eyes were so bright. I got out of the car, unbuckled her from her seat, and held her round, full cheek against mine. As I brought her inside, fed her lunch, and tucked her into her bed, I thought about how many people are likely longing for the mundane right now. I've longed for it myself, in other days when things have felt turbulent and uncertain and loud and chaotic. I've watched others living their boring, normal, routine days, and have fervently wished to be them.
So here I am today. Disappointed, yes, that my plans were cancelled and I am instead having an ordinary day in my home with nap strikes and dirty dishes and a messy floor. But now I'm also daring to ponder whether my self-pity is rightfully felt. Could it be possible that what I resented this morning could be what I'm praising for this afternoon?
It is hard work for reach for gratitude and contentment when they are sitting on the shelf beside apathy and bitterness. It's like choosing carrots over chocolate cake. But today, those empty calories just seem too self-indulgent, so I'm going to eat my veggies and hug my babies and thank God that at least for today, it's a mundane, boring day at home.