Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Good Listening

I love my sister.

Honest to goodness, I do. But sometimes she can be the most disobedient, saucy little diva that ever walked the paths of Jim Warren Park.

But, nevertheless, I somehow always manage to end up taking her to the park. Yesterday was no different.

We'd gotten our lovely gluten-free Happy Meals at McDonald's and sat outside on a picnic table, enjoying the strangely warm weather. The sky was blue, birds were chirping (Evan: "HEY! Birds, STOP! You 'NNOYING ME!", and we had the park nearly to ourselves.

For the next two hours, she slid down slides, she stood on my shoulders to do the monkey bars, she climbed on the gigantic rocks scattered around the park. In short, she had a blast. And I was thinking that I had won the sister jackpot with this happy, sassy, chatty little girl.

And then it was time to leave.

Somehow during play the socks underneath Evan's shoes had come off. What can I say? The girl knows her loopholes.

Me: EVAN! You need to keep your shoes ON!
Evan: *Roll of the eyes and gigantic dramatic sigh* UGH. Tori...
Me: NOW. *Go sit back on the bench*
-- two minutes later -- 
Me: *Two little pink socks hit head* EVAN!
Evan: *Sassy and defiant in her shoes (but not socks)*

I digress. After Evan came down the slide one last time, I stooped down to put her socks back on. "It's time to go, Evan," I said. I should've seen what was coming.


And for the rest of our outing (which was not long, thankfully) she fought me. She sassed me. Everything I did, she opposed it. And she thought it was funny.

On our way home, I finally snapped. She had her fingers in her mouth. Her gross, nasty fingers that had been touching playground equipment and wood chips for the last two hours. I didn't trust the baby wipe and hand sanitizer I'd used enough to let her be sucking on her hands.

"Hands out of your mouth, Evan."

The fingers stayed in the mouth.

I resorted to trying again. "Evan, I need you to take your fingers out of your mouth. They're dirty."

Nope. So I tried again. And again. And again.

Until finally after about the twenty-third time, I pulled over on the side of the road, nearly in tears, and yelled. "EVAN! Why can't you just do what I ask you to!? I took you to lunch and the park! I just wanted us to have fun together! I just wanted you to have fun! And you RUIN it! Because when I need you to do something, you DON'T! You don't have good listening at all! We could have so much fun if you would just LISTEN TO ME!"

She had a bath when we got home and then I put her straight to bed for a nap. No books. No iPad. Not a happy Evan.

Later, when I'd had a chance to cool down, I regretted it. Yelling doesn't work. I know that. I knew it deep down but I'd just forgotten in the moment.

And it struck me how similar my relationship to Evan is to God's relationship with me.

How many times have I chosen to disobey God because it seems more fun? How many times has God asked me over and over again to do something, and I just continue to disobey because it's not what I want? I, like Evan, even enjoy my own disobedience sometimes. Until the consequences show up, that is.

And it makes me wonder if God thinks what I yelled at Evan when I disobey Him.

"Tori, if you would only do what I asked you to, we could have so much fun! Things would be so much better if only you would listen!"

Good listening, we tell Evan all the time. You need to have good listening.

Maybe I need to have good listening too.

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