Just when I think I’m becoming a master of spiritual practice, something happens that obliterates that perspective. I try to be the least anxious presence in a roomful of people. I am an active listener, a calm voice, a gentle spirit. But there are some days, like today, when all that vanishes because I cannot make my daughter get up for school in the morning.
She’s a night person, so I get it. No one wants to get up if she’s tired. No one likes to be woken out of sleep and have to emerge from the soft cocoon of blankets to the cold floor in order to brave the halls of middle school. Yet as her parent I am responsible to get her to school on time.
It amazes me how gradually the shift happens from a cheery “Good morning, sweetheart! Time to get up!” to a monstrous “I don’t care if I have to drag you out of that bed and into the car half naked! We need to leave NOW!” in the 45 minutes between time-to-get-up and time-to-leave-for-school. I’ve read counselors blogs on how to get kids out of bed and teaching them responsibility for themselves and so forth, and I’m onboard with that. It’s a life skill she needs and nobody likes starting the day fuming and spewing ash like volcano.
It’s a humbling moment when I realize that I’m not as enlightened with as vast a consciousness as I think I am. There is a darkness in us humans that lurks beneath the carefully cultivated surface, one we try to hide or pretend is not with us. Every so often something happens that brings it right up to the surface and it boils over like pouring too much kombucha through the funnel into the bottle. I stand and watch in horror as the unstoppable bubbles ooze over the edges and I am grateful once again for forgiveness and mercy…because I sure need it.