Everyone loses it now and then.
That much is normal, right? Unfortunately, when I snapped, it took the form of a knife-wielding slasher attack… Yeah, I know. Not so normal.
I’m usually a non-violent person, but I was under a lot of pressure. Everything in my life seemed to be going wrong. Then, suddenly, I snapped. That’s when the knife came out.
In my defense, the victim had it coming. No, really. The the victim was literally asking for it! So, in that moment of insane fury, I grabbed my knife and deeply, maliciously, stabbed my victim multiple times. I mercilessly twisted the dull blade after embedding it to the hilt so as to do maximum damage. It was like a scene from Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”
Never mind that my stabbing victim was just a large jug of water….
So why do battle with a water jug? It’s pretty simply, really. My mom was allergic to, well, everything, including many of the chemicals found in our city’s tap water. Rather than buying endless travel-sized bottles of water, I’d decided to purchase a specially designed refrigerator pack of spring water.
I thought the pack was the perfect solution to my dilemma of how to keep Mom hydrated on a budget. The jug was shaped like a cinderblock and held 2.5 gallons of water. The idea was to place this jug on a shelf in the refrigerator. I could then simply pull the spout open to allow the water to flow into a cup. No hassle. No Mess. I would be easy! Or at least that was how it was advertised…
The jug worked great at first, and I congratulated myself for having made such a wise purchase. But then, over time, the water started coming out more slowly. Periodically the flow would stop altogether as the jug gasped, sucking in air through the pour spout.
The water from the jug poured slower, and slower, and slower. I was always in a crazy hurry, and the maddening little trickle drove me insane. Then I saw it. Toward the top of the container was a little circle with a sign urging me to “vent here.”
The jug needed an air intake hole! I’d just been too busy to see it. What had I done instead? I’d resorted to squeezing the bottle to push out more water. Then, I squeezed it even harder. After a couple days of this treatment, the jug was an angular crushed mess. Still, it had another gallon or so left to go.
One morning at about 3:00 a.m., I needed some of that elusive water to give my mom her medication. I was tired and sore, yet suddenly only the tiniest trickle of water would come out. It didn’t matter how hard I squeezed or pushed or crushed. Nothing else was coming out of that jug.
Then I lost it. Suddenly, I was yelling, “Vent here? You want me to vent here?! I’ll show you VENT HERE!!” Yeah, that’s when the knife came out.
Looking back on it, I realize now that I was a lot like that jug.
I’d been pushing myself. I’d squeezed every last once of care, love, and concern out of myself until I was a grumpy ball of agitation and raw nerves. I was gasping for air internally. I needed an intake vent.
We’re told to love one another, because love comes from God (1 John 4:7). But what I didn’t fully realize until that night was that we can’t continue to give love if we don’t take time to receive it.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been preached to about the importance of spending daily time with God. Spiritual leaders are always saying that prayer and reading scripture are important. Well, so are clean dishes, clothes that don’t smell like low tide, and food, not to mention doctors appointments, my mom’s medication, and the list goes on. Non-essentials, like the dust bunnies that keep multiplying like rabbits, get moved to the bottom of my to-do list. Sometimes I just don’t have time to worry about them.
I thought I didn’t have time to worry about spending time with God either. I was wrong.
I love my mom. I considered it a privilege to to be able to care for her in our home, but I couldn’t continue to love her and care for her if I didn’t make time to take in love.
My time with God is my “intake vent.” The time I spend praying and reading His Word is my time to take in the love and strength I need to continue giving it to others. As the old saying goes, “You can’t give what you ain’t got.”
My life is a crazy busy mess sometimes, but after that knife attack in the kitchen, I go on slasher rampages of a different kind. No matter how jammed my schedule may be, I make a hole large enough to spend time in God’s presence. I’ll look at my day and, if necessary, actually write in the schedule “vent here.” No matter how busy life may get, I need my “slasher time” with God.
Thanks for reading. This week, remember to do yourself a favor. Make a hole in your schedule to let some of God’s love into your life. You’ll be glad you did. God bless you.