Sometimes in the morning, I approach my lectio session just knowing I am going to get a smack, a God-smack. I know my spirit has not been on straight and the only way it’s going to become aright is through a mighty smiting. This morning was one of those mornings.
I had spent the past week in a whirling cloud of PMS-induced-snarl. The progesterone had plummeted, I hated everyone. I was annoyed 24-7. I was looking for a new job and a new town and a new husband.
I am at ground zero even as I write. My ETA for the month was predicted for today, and that was confirmed when I awoke with a blistering migraine.
I crept to my desk in an Imitrex fog, ducking my head to try to get underneath my throbbing temples, and opened my Bible with great trepidation, for I knew I had done it again. I knew I had let my diminishing hormones get the best of me. And sure enough, the readings for the day were exactly what I deserved:
First this from Hosea:
“Your piety is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that early passes away.”
How true is that? How many times have I pledged to remain loving, pledged to be patient and follow God’s lead? How many times has that lasted for only a few days, or until the next round of menstruation makes that a challenge?
Usually, I hate to leave my desk in the morning. My soul is so straight and shiny, and then I walk down the stairs and encounter Asperger’s: Andy is rude to me or Eldest overreacts or I am asked to do something simple that proves overwhelming to Andy, and I am immediately awful. Sigh.
Thank goodness for those oh-so-human Psalmists. Here is today’s emoting:
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Oh, I hope not. I hope I will be not spurned. I am sure there is not an NT spouse who would not admit that life with an Aspergian is difficult. The behaviors can push every sensitive button. And I know that I fall. I pick myself up and I fall. I pick myself up and I fall once again. The early monks were asked to plant sticks in the ground in order to practice obedience. Meeting the needs of Aspergian often feels this way.
Then of course, I encounter the dynamite. I fearfully turn to the Gospel reading and prepare myself for a Jesus blast. No holds barred there. Here’s what I got:
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity
greedy, dishonest, adulterous or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
There is no finer Pharisee than I during PMS week: “Oh God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of Chenango County: ignorant, lazy, backwards or even like this Aspie husband of mine. I am able to multitask and I understand how to act polite at all times.”
What I SHOULD be saying is this: “O God, be merciful to me who once again used PMS and Asperger’s as an excuse to be unloving.”
SMACK. “Thank you, Lord, may I have another.”
This is why life with an Aspergian can be such a school of holiness – it brings those dark emotions right up to the surface. Every day.
When I am saturated with progesterone and no one can do anything wrong in my book, yeah, it is easy to be loving and Christ-like. But what happens when the going gets tough and the Roman guards are spitting in your face, and the people whom you came to help are pounding nails through your hands – how do you act then?
So, once again I stand off at a distance and will not even raise my eyes to heaven but beat my breast and pray, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I am thankful to Hosea, who does not leave us smacked down to the ground, but offers this:
“Come, let us return to the LORD,
it is he who has rent, but he will heal us;
he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds.
Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD;
as certain as the dawn is his coming,
and his judgment shines forth like the light of day!
He will come to us like the rain,
like spring rain that waters the earth.”
Today is the equinox, so I can no longer blame my bad behavior on Seasonal Affective Disorder, nor should I be blaming it on Cassandra Affective. I can’t change the movements of the planet and I can’t change the structure of my husband’s amygdala. There is ONE thing I can change, and that is me.
I ask, as the progesterone returns and the spring rains begin to fall, that I may try once again to live like an elegant spirit. And I ask, as I should at every moment, hormones or no, that the Spirit of love and compassion guide my thoughts and my actions. Amen.
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