august was a very busy month here. i ended up having more guests than in june or july. i’ve been absolutely worn out.

now it is september, and i live in a beautiful place. the first day of the month gave haines blue skies and stripped the clouds away from in front of the mountains. i wore a dress (with a sweater). despite that blessed break from the gray and rain, business this week flooded over as if there were no difference between the 8th and 9th months of the year. and the business was not of the best kind.

i have caught myself, over the past few days, almost obsessively internally abusing some of my guests who displayed less than ideal behavior. i would mentally list my complaints against them, developing commentaries, the prime ones of which would become fodder for future humorous blog posts – caricatures of “the talker,” “the want-to-be innkeeper,” “the know-it-all,” who all happened to be incarnate in one particular guest. a basic understanding of human nature will tell you that, by doing so, i was only setting myself up to become more annoyed as those behaviors continued, able to more readily identify new ones and be less able to put on a happy face when actually interacting with the guests.

this morning, i felt as if i were on my breaking point. i wanted to scream with the knowledge that i had another day to deal with these people. i did my duties, then practically ran out of the house to church.

i’ve been attending the local presbyterian church, a denomination i hadn’t had much exposure to before. for those of you as unfamiliar as i was, the presbyterians have more structure to their services than most protestants, though less so than episcopalians. for instance, there are designated prayer times at various points throughout the service that are intended to address specific issues. the actual prayers are not provided, but the topics and placements are. one such moment in the service is the prayer of confession & assurance of pardon.

the woman responsible for these today began by speaking of a frustration she encounters when tourists walk in the middle of the streets, apparently unaware that haines does in fact have traffic. her annoyance resonated with my current state of mind. she then went on to describe pig-pen from the peanuts comic strip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

dust and dirt seemingly fly off of pig-pen constantly wherever he goes. she likened the things we say, and thoughts we don’t, to those remnants. we drop them everywhere, and they get on the people we’re around.

this illustration was so simple it could have been used for the children’s message. it convicted me. severely. though i wasn’t speaking aloud the thoughts i had assembled about my guests, they were certainly affecting me, coloring the way i treated them. i know it sounds basic, even as i write this. but it holds power for me now, because i was caught so bloody-red-handed.

she prayed for our forgiveness, for my forgiveness, as together we confessed these offenses to God.

the sermon continued from this, addressing the simple command to love one another. simple, but hard. we are not wired that way.

it is these small habits of sin that are so easy to forget, suppress and justify.  i felt the force of the simple command to love, because i wasn’t. i was actively engaged in the exact opposite.

if you pray, please pray for patience for me as i struggle to balance my sinful nature, exhausted introversion and work responsibilities with God’s command to love.

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