As I step into church on Sunday morning, I clutch my latte mug as though it’s my tie to earth. The lady guarding the door shifts as I approach. Her hand blocks my way. “Sorry but we don’t allow drinks in here. You can stand over there and finish your coffee,” she says sweetly. I am immediately pissed.

I look over at the three people standing nearby with their coffee cups. They are smiling, engrossed in a conversation. It’s way too early to talk.

I mutter to my husband, “There’s no way I’m drinking this whole thing right now.” He suggests putting it in the car. I’ve had like 5 hours of sleep and all I want to do is sit in church with my latte! I am furious.

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I notice my ridiculous thoughts.

1) I should just go home. That would show them.

2) Stupid idiot people that spill their drinks and ruin it for the rest of us.

3) Rules are dumb.

4) How dare she tell me what to do.

I am angry like someone lit a match in my chest cavity. We wander back and it takes all my effort to smile politely when she thanks me and touches my arm. As the band starts playing I notice three girls in the next row. They each have a coffee cup sitting on the floor next to them. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

The main singer pauses between a song and says that he senses that there are people today who are bitter. I answer in my head, “Yep, me.”

His comment throws me slightly off kilter because when I think about this fire of bitterness that is burning internally, my mind says, “Well then just let it go.”

I answer back, “No it’s mine. I can hold it if I want to.”

Hmmm. Okaaay. That response was slightly unexpected.

The singing eventually stops and the service begins as I dissect the fire. I am angry because in the moment she “told me what to do” I forgot that I am an adult, perhaps due to my lack of sleep, and suddenly became a kid again.

When we were little, my brother and I hated going to church. We’d fake sleep, but were forced to get up. The clothes I wore were not dressy enough so I would have to redress in something my parents picked out. Then it was the stress, which included all the small fights on the way to church, so that when we stepped through the doors we could be perfect and calm.

But I am an adult now.

All that was required to rid myself of the bitterness was simply a willingness to let it go. But I held it because I wanted to be right and justified, because I wanted to keep holding it.

Maybe it was my resentment against people telling me what to do, or a way to lash out at the ways I felt powerless in my past, when I felt had to comply.

Fair or not fair, this incident wasted roughly an hour of my time and only hurt me. It’s amazing how, as adults, our subconscious has no age and no grasp on the timelines of our lives. It throws triggers out at random.

When I realized, of course, that I was the one being stubborn, it was easy to let it go.

All it took was my willingness to let it go.
Willingness.
That is all.

 

 

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Coffee im Valentinstags by Brenda Annerl is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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