Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Garage Door.


It happened before I realized it was happening. I pulled into the driveway, looked over, and I saw the garage door was open.

I sighed, and said to myself, "I'll freaking close it, geez. I have to do everything around here."

Then, as I walked over to do "everything," I saw something else. The Powerwheel was sitting there, half parked in the garage, half out.

I got even more upset. I gave the thing a half-hearted kick and shove, then yanked the door down. Angry, I walked into the house...

"Christ looked at this screwed up world, turned to the Father and asked, 'How can I help?' And God looked at him and said, 'Are you sure? Because you may not like what you have to do.'" - Andy Stanley

When I walked in, I slammed my keys a little too hard onto the rack, and I tossed my wallet on the refrigerator a little too hard. I made sure my face was good and screwed up so my wife would ask me what was wrong, and sure enough, she bit.

"Travis, what's wrong? You look mad."

"Alright, which one is this?" 
"This one is Travis Sloat, sin number 4,555,291. He looks at his wife and says something really dumb. Something he shouldn't say at all." 
"And I'm going to die for that?" 
"In order for this to work, you have to." 
"Alright, done. What next?" 
"Sin number 4,555,292: he uses several curse words while watching Duke play." 
"He's kind of an idiot, but man I love him." 

I opened my mouth.

"I'd like it if I didn't have to be the one that closes the garage door all the time. And the freaking Powerwheel was sticking out of it. Why can't you at least check that before I have to do it?"

The very second I closed my mouth I knew they were dumb. I realized how stupid it all was. I realized, that if I owned my piece of the pie, the reason I was mad was because all I wanted to do was come home and not be bothered by trivial stuff...like my kids...my kids and their stuff.


But I couldn't just back out of it. I needed to own that stupidity. I couldn't just have said, "You know what, I'm an idiot, and I'm sorry."

Now, sitting here, I realize something. There are people out there that would LOVE to have the opportunity to put their kids' toys away. They would love to come home, see something laying out, shake their heads and say, "Those crazy kids."

"This is for Travis, and sin number 4,555,291. This is for Travis, sin number 4,555,291. I love him. That's why I'm here. That's why they're beating me. That's why these thorns are on my head. This is for Travis, because I love him, even though he's an idiot, and even though he's not always thankful for what I've given him. This is for Travis, sin number 4,555,292..." 

"Travis, I'm sorry, I'll start making sure they put their stuff up and the door is closed."

What? What? This isn't what I wanted. I WANTED A FIGHT. I WANTED YELLING AND LOUD NOISES AND TRIVIAL THINGS TO BE BROUGHT UP. I DON'T WANT APOLOGIES.

"I think I ate your chocolate squirrel." 
I didn't want an apology because the second the words were out of her mouth, I realized what an absolute idiot I was. I realized that she loves me enough to try and fix something that isn't even her fault.

And I couldn't even find the ability to say "I forgive you." Not because of pride, not because of anything other than the fact that I AM SO STUPID, and THIS IS SO STUPID, and WHY ARE YOU MAKING HER APOLOGIZE FOR THIS YOU JACKASS. It's like saying the words "I forgive you," would have been even worse than what I said in the first place.

"Oh I forgive you because you spent all afternoon filling out paperwork for something incredibly important AFTER you spent all day molding young minds and AFTER you fixed dinner you might have wanted to just take a break instead of closing the garage door."

Right. That would have made it better.

And I'm the one sitting here now, remembering the blog I posted LESS THAN A WEEK AGO, about how I'm working on things, and here I am taking two steps forward, telling the world (the six folks who read this blog) about how I'm making progress, and then, BAM, three steps back.

What my "progress" feels like most days.
And I could just have easily not typed this, not written this up, and not left it here for those six people to see. But I can't do that. This is what you need to know about me. Because I'm sure there are others out there who struggle like I do, and who need to be reminded that it's an uphill struggle, but we do have hope.

"So what happens to Travis after a lifetime of imperfection?" 
"Well, he'll be forgiven because he accepted our gift." 
"Just like that? There won't be a giant scale weighing out his good and bad that ultimately determines where he'll spend eternity?" 
"Nope. Just you, standing in the gap between the real and the ideal."
"That sounds fantastic. He'll never make it on his own. Let's do this thing."