Betty Duffy

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Morning in Exile

This morning Mr. Duffy didn’t have to be at work until 9 so I got to go to Mass without the kids. When Mr. Duffy asked if I wanted to go, I was still in the fog of sleep, and a little less than enthusiastic about getting up, especially since the last few days have been such an exhibition of my childish behavior. Surely the tone of my most recent posts have given some insight into my interior landscape, but if I narrated the complete extant of my tantrums this week, you would see why I might be a little sheepish about going to face my Creator this morning at Mass. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” What could he possibly have meant by that?

We went to a parade recently here in town, and the kids were collecting candy right and left. A toddler next to us was making his slow way towards a piece of candy while my oldest child was swooping around a wide radius gathering candy before anyone else could get to it—and this child had nearly reached his destination, was only one or two feet away when Duffy #1 dove in for the kill. Poor toddler was so easily distractible, he just turned around to toddle back to his dad. No, it was Duffy #1 who threw the tantrum when we pointed out to him that this other child had made a baptism of intent to eat this particular piece of candy and that Duffy#1 should relinquish the candy to the younger, weaker child. He was not happy to do that. He became blind to the fresh showering handfuls of candy yet being scattered in his domain, and could only feel so painfully the loss of the one piece he couldn’t have. “Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said. Well this is the kind of behavior I see exhibited in my kids—and also the most common kind of behavior of which I am guilty. What could Jesus possibly have meant? Let those who ignore the pouring forth of Grace in favor of their neighbor’s goods come to me? Or maybe he meant, let those who steal their neighbor’s goods come to me, as Duffy #3 illustrated when she blatantly stole Duffy#2’s Dots from his pile of accumulated sweets, to which Duffy #2 responded by screaming and hitting his sister. Let those who reciprocate bad deeds with tantrums and violence come to me. What could Jesus possibly have meant?

I went to Mass regardless of my bad behavior, and surely Jesus meant what he said in spite of how children behave, because I had one of those moments of consolation that are so rare, but provide such certainty. The minute I walked through the door, I felt the spirit of Christ’s forgiveness come over me. “Don’t hide from me, Betty. I know where to find you.” I heard it, I swear. I hate to say it, because I love to get hung up on my guilt, but none of my bad behavior mattered right then. It just didn’t matter at all, though I certainly felt the stipulation that I need to clean up my act and quit acting like a psychotic pregnant lady, even though that may very well be what I am.

Mass was over ten minutes early, clearly another blessing, and I had an opportunity to go to the grocery for milk without any kids before Mr. Duffy had to leave for work. I was giddy with the wonderful way my day was shaping up. And as I turned into the parking lot of Kroger and saw the flashing red and blue lights behind me, it did not occur to me at all that those lights might be for me. But I pulled over regardless and curiously, the cop car pulled up right behind me. “Any reason you might be in a hurry this morning?” Well you know how this story ends. Betty Duffy, who has never had a ticket in her life, never had an accident, has rarely been pulled over, but has always managed to make her way out with only a warning; Betty Duffy arrived home from her blessed morning raging, with a two hundred dollar ticket in her pocket. It’s all a valley of tears, isn’t it?


Elizabeth said...

duffy, just when you deserved to have the perfect morning of ephanies, the man has to step in and ruin it. so sorry, and ass I have been told several times by the blue in white in various states across the U.S.A., "slow it down honey, this is´nt the indy 500" ; )

Elizabeth said...

that was suppose to be as not ass, sorry i don´t edit.