Friday, June 12, 2015

Ticklefits

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Sometimes I feel like my life is inundated with poop.
For the sake of propriety, though, as I explain why, let's just call it the Ticklefits, an incurable disease that spreads like wildfire and has plagued mankind since its inception, particularly after eating a lot of fruit.
I had just gotten done feeding my daughter, when I noticed the first symptoms of the Ticklefits -- her face getting red and scrunched -- the evidence of some internal struggle to get the Ticklefit out. No big deal, happens every day. But then I remembered last night, when a particularly explosive endeavor resulted in some spilled Fits on the floor. I picked her up and, sure enough, her high chair was no longer suitable to sit in -- INFECTED!
I rushed her to the sink to keep the disease from spreading and took her clothes off as swiftly as I could. I found the source of the Fits, and changed her overflowing diaper, all the while exclaiming about how I couldn't wait for Ellie to be potty-trained (I mean, stop being ticklish...?). Well, that's when another symptom of the Ticklefits showed up -- yellow substance #1! INFECTED...ALL OVER!!
Now I must give her an emergency detox bath and end this once for all. All the while, though, all I can think about is how this has been such an interruption in my day! For you see, I work from home, which means I don't always take days off when I should. I had decided to take this particular Wednesday off from fighting contagious diseases, but so far it had been anything but restful.
So we're in an impromptu bath time with an end in sight, though still far off. That's when a random symptom of the Fits shows up -- Spit-up in the bathwater! "Spit up" is the nice way of saying puke for babies, which you can imagine has thrown yet another wrench in my cleanup operation. I'll spare you anymore details, but eventually I got her cleaned up and in her crib for a much-needed nap on her part.
Back to the chair -- as I was cleaning up the beginnings of this whole fiasco, I reflected on how poorly I had handled this entire situation. Running around the house yelling, "There's Ticklefit everywhere! Why are you still ticklish?!" is an understandable, but certainly less-than-noble reaction. And were you a neighbor of mine, I'm not proud to say that you would hear things like this exit our windows fairly often, for the Fits is a common adversary in our household.
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A prior instance of the Tickle Fits spreading.
Okay, analogy over. So why do I get so frustrated by situations like this (besides the fact that I'm cleaning up human feces)? I think the problem lies in my expectations for what my life should be like, and ultimately is a selfishness issue.
I started today (and most days) expecting to get something done that I wanted to get done, be it writing, music, skateboarding, video games, etc. On this particular day of presupposed rest, I especially thought it reasonable that I should be able to do whatever I wanted to do. But then there's this little one-year-old with big brown eyes and a massive level of curiosity that knows nothing of my plans and fully expects my presence throughout the day for her entertainment, education and overall benefit. And she has every right to -- not because she doesn't know any better, but because that's what I signed up for.
When I became a father (and before that, when I got married), I lost rights as an individual. My priorities changed drastically. I was no longer "number one." And so for me to decide that today I am number one, is like trying to swim upstream -- I can make it a little while, but never all the way and never without pain and fatigue.
Now I don't mean to take that to its extreme and say it's never okay to have moments to myself, for those are the times I recharge, being the introvert I am. But when I'm frustrated because I didn't get to do what I wanted to do because my daughter needed me, that is an unfounded expectation from the beginning, one based on selfishness, which will never lead where I want it to go.
And so I'm brought back to these verses again:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." (Matthew 16:25-25)
This is just another instance, a very practical one in fact, where I must deny myself for the sake of someone else, which is ultimately just acting like my Savior.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:3-8
Here's a fun, slightly related video my friend Taylor made!

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