Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Civility- Week 7 Feb. 13, 2012

Civility costs nothing, and buys everything. - Mary Wortley Montagu, English writer

   Wow, week seven into this new year.  Doesn’t it seem longer than that? I guess I am so ready for spring, I think it should be week 20 something already and the fact that my life seems to have had way to much stuff going on in it to only be week 7.

   The Civility Experiment as my children are now calling it, because experiments aren’t supposed to last long and they know me well enough to know being the mercurial creature I am at times, my attempts at always being civil are going to fail at times, was not going well for me this week.

   Yesterday was one of those times. I was not feeling well, which should have been my first clue to not engage in any activity that you could add the adjectives stressful, tense or even slow. Despite knowing this, I decided to try pricing dishwashers on the internet.

   Our poor dishwasher has been on the fritz for the last year. It’s about 10 years old which to me means it should have at least another 10 years to go before conking out. But I still believe the Maytag Repairman commercials too.

   For the last year our dishwasher has been offering up as supposedly washed dishes, dishes that have scum on them, particles of food, and rust and streaks all over the plates.  I’ve tried everything from gallons of Rinso agents, to that paint you use to cover up the rust, to those special “dishwasher cleaners” you can buy.  No dice.  Ours was making horrible ka-thump sounds and only with a wailing at the end of each cycle, gives forth dishes that still look like the dog licked them clean with a muddy tongue. So I was on the computer pricing them at a very slow pace because our internet was dragging. Then the prices were astronomical because we have to have an unusually small sized dishwasher to fit under our cabinets, when you add shipping you might as well be booking a ride to the moon.

   Maybe if I had used more civility, the above quote would have worked for me.

   But in my state of mind, it wasn’t going to happen and of course using Civility wasn’t going to pay for a new dishwasher.  But then neither was screaming and yelling at my nonfunctioning dishwasher and slow internet buying me anything except more wrinkles, gray hair and additional time in the confessional.

   So, poor example that I was to my daughter of how to be civil when exasperated, I gave up the search for a new dishwasher and decided to make washing dishes my Lenten offering this year since Ash Wednesday is already next week.

   Failing as a parent to show a good example of behaving civilly is nothing new to me of course. But each time I drop the ball it hurts and I am reminded of how very human and crabby I am. And of course I run the whole gamut of wondering why God and my family don’t just give up on me.

   Sitting in church looking at Jesus on the cross, and at the Stations of the Cross finally reminds me that Jesus fell three times. Why?  Of course he was tired, exhausted, beaten to the point of death. But wasn’t it more than that?  Maybe it was to show that when all else fails, you still get back up. At least that’s how I look at his example. If of all people, Jesus fell down with his cross…isn’t it okay that I fall down with my cross of my bad temper, and lack of patience? Doesn’t it matter that when I screw up, I get back up again and try to do better?

   I hope so. Because I have fallen more times than that lady in the Life Alert commercial. I keep getting back up, time after time, working on my civility. At week seven I am wondering if it will ever kick in.
   How many weeks does it take to create a new better habit? I forget, but I’m pretty sure it’s more than 7. So I guess I’ll keep trying. Hope you are sticking with me, cause it’s a lonely journey sometimes.  But then I guess I’d better watch my mouth better if you are coming along, huh?

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