I was in a frantic scramble to turn apples into sauce before any more rotted. The clock was ticking, my time limited, and each movement needed to count.
A row of jars stood on the counter, awaiting lids. As I stretched to reach over the jars, one jar toppled. Applesauce splashed across the counter, down my dress, dripping to the floor.
I looked quickly for broken glass and grabbed a towel to stop any further mess. Although grateful to find the jar unbroken, I found myself looking around in irritation.
But I was alone. No one was in the kitchen but me. With shock, I realized I was searching for someone to blame. I shudder to think what words would have escaped if the usual bevy of children had been at my elbow. I heard their happy voices playing in a nearby room. This time, there was nothing but my own clumsiness to blame.
For the next several hours, while washing apples, stirring pots, squeezing sauce, and scrubbing pans, I had much to ponder. How often do I lash out at my helpers when an accident happens? Do I always blame others in times of difficulty, big or small? Do I never stop to consider that maybe I am the one to blame?
The reaction is as old as our Grandmother Eve. I blame the serpent. The children You gave me. My husband. Or the house, the weather, my aching back, the economy, her, him, them, it...endless the things, people, and circumstances at the focus of my anger.
What if I turned my accusing finger inward? If I said, "I have sinned. I was impatient. I knocked over the jar. I spoke unkindly. Please forgive me." Would my heart then be lighter, the burden lifted? If I turned my frustrations into songs of joy, would I find the “joy of the Lord is my strength”? Could I carry my burden, the endless tasks, the time limits, the uncomfortable circumstances to my Father and there find the promised rest?
Some days it seems impossible to find the time to sit at Jesus' feet, this needful thing that Mary chose. But I can choose to spend time in His Word and tune my heart to His voice. If I want to stop blaming my circumstances, I need to start working on the person I can change.
Then when applesauce spills, may only loving words escape.