I’ve been a bit of a grump lately. Little things that I don’t usually let bother me have been accumulating and an aura of grumpiness has been following me around. I’ve been rude, impatient, less helpful and awfully direct in my words.
I had to go and pick my sister up from her boyfriend’s place on Sunday night. I didn’t check my phone to see the message and had returned from church without detouring to pick her up. It was all of 9pm and not even close to the early hours of the morning when she’d picked me up from train stations in years past. I mumbled something about being hungry and slammed the door behind me. Melanie the grump.
Earlier this year I made a conscious decision to refrain from complaining about clients even when their decisions, actions or inaction caused more work/stress for me. But this week it’s started to creep in. I’ve been short on the phone and have a grumble after (lightly) slamming down the phone. My emails became short and I was less keen to go the extra mile for them. Melanie the grump.
Wednesday night I was up at 3.00, 3.15, 3.30 and then 3.45am to our ageing dog. I’ve google-diagnosed him with kidney failure. His thirst has increased, while his bladder control has decreased (see a connection?). He politely whimpers when he needs to be let out (then barks after I ignore him pretending he doesn’t exist), but in the cold early hours of the morning my patience is slim. As I stood on the deck in my pyjamas with my uggboots on the wrong feet, I looked at him – deaf and going blind and I swore at him. “Sammy, every time you wake me, your life is one day shorter!” Melanie the grump.
Yesterday morning I let a car in from a different lane and it meant I missed the opportunity to turn. I had to wait three whole minutes for another opportunity. I was so close but so far. I ended up missing my train to work by about 50metres. All because of that car. If I didn’t let that car in, I would have made my train. Now I had to stand on a cold platform and wait 10 minutes for the next non-direct train. Melanie the grump.
Standing on the platform, I shot a text message to my Dad. He usually commutes with me but was elsewhere yesterday. I got his reply and boy did he rebuke me. While he tried to encourage my actions – allowing the car in despite him being in the wrong lane – I realised I was being incredibly selfish. I was allowing a spirit of peace and generosity to be squashed out by a spirit of bitterness and anger. My usual smiles arriving at the office and accepting decisions were fake and I was always “fine” when someone asked how I was. I was completely caught up in holding on to anything that fuelled my fury.
And so I sat there on the 8.02 train to the city, pulled out my bible and confessed my grumbling spirit. As I continued my commute a song came on Spotify I had no recollection of: Shane and Shane, ‘You loved my heart to death.‘ The lyrics caught my attention.
I drank the cup of death
It’s running through my veins
I chose my pride instead
Of the glory of Your name
All the wrath of God that I
Deserve with every breath
Fell upon Him
And He loved my heart to death
It’s taken me some time to believe
There’ll never come a day
That You’ll ever leave
That when I drive the nails through Your hands
You do not recant
You never take it back
The foolishness of my actions was apparent. I was holding on to any inconvenient or any wrongdoing towards me. I was keeping a record of wrongs – the need to grumble was running through my veins. But how thankful I am that my record of wrongs was dealt with in the nails through Christ’s hands. I can see once more how great the love of Christ is to love my bitter and grumbling heart to death.
I eventually flicked to Proverbs and found this little gem as I boarded my connecting train to work. I’ve made it into a little postcard that I will print and stick beside my desk to remind me to put the grumble at the foot of the cross.