Choose Love and Be Late

If you don't get your socks and shoes on right now YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE!

Sometimes I'd like to switch cultures. I spent a summer overseas in Mexico and also in Azerbaijan where being late wasn't a thing. When you got there, you got there. And then you might stay much longer than anyone anticipated...making yourself late to the next thing....or on time to it. Or whatever.

But I live in a culture where the school bus shows up at the same time each day (Mexico - could be an hour off coming or going - a real adventure) and where times and lateness can mean rudeness, irresponsibility and over time, job loss.

But regardless of my culture - I'm pretty sure choosing love is better than being a miffed, rude, crazy person. The posture of the heart goes a long way. In the U.S. or elsewhere.

Just the other day I chose love which meant, for this instance, I was choosing to be late.

My middle child was apparently NOT going to be wearing the pre-planned outfit for school. It was Monday and it had been a long and lovely weekend and it was all too much. I was changing the toddler's diaper, giving out commands in between wipes and the oldest brother's search for the GREEN and black sweatshirt not the ORANGE and black one and I was starting to get frustrated with each passing minute. It was all so well-planned the night before.

Soon I had slipped into Crazy Command-mode (c'mon, you have one) and was not about the tears and the outfits and the choices and the BEING LATE part.

And as I was walking briskly down the hall after the toddler who had now taken off his pants and wanted me to chase him - I thought: "I'm pissed - but we WILL be on time."

Really?

That's how I want to live? Punctual and pissed? Ticked-off but timely?

I felt a check in my spirit - you can choose love. But you might be late.

I can't afford to be late! you may find yourself saying. For many jobs, tardiness does not go well. But have we ever wondered if there was a correlation to being crazy toward your children and being late? Like, possibly, the crazier you get (rising to the match the crazy of your child or situation) then the later you may be? It's a theory.

But what is not a theory is what love does.

Love doesn't prod children like cattle.

Love sees a child for all that she is -  her dignity, value and worth.

Love is patient, kind, not rude or self-seeking.

I stopped. Counted to ten. (My toddler has learned to count simply because he has heard me count to 10 just to cool down...a lot...out loud) and decided to lean down to my daughter and listen. Smile. Hear her anxieties. See what was unraveling her little heart. This may or may not have taken ALL of my strength.

She stopped the fit, was heard, and got it together. Turns out being a crazy mom may not help being timely.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so they will not become discouraged

was ringing in my ears from a line that St. Paul wrote to a church who needed some instruction.

In the end, I was only 4 minutes late, which thankfully in my job, was fine that day.

And also in the end, that morning I had chosen the highest possible road, with a 4 minute consequence.  But I felt like I had to look at my little one in the face, really see her, and sacrifice my reputation and responsibilities so that she was loved well.

People can be well-loved AND on time in the mornings. You've done it. I've done it. But when in the down-ward spiral of Crazyville, choose love.

May the fruit of love be just the remedy.