It was an ugly day yesterday. Yes. It was rainy, cold and gray, but that’s not why it was ugly. It was ugly on the inside of me.
Two days prior, I received a dreaded letter from the DMV. “Your registration privileges have been indefinitely suspended. Your license will be suspended in one week.” (On my birthday, I might add)
The culprit: I had forgotten to turn in the license plates on the car we had sold in the fall. That’s something serious in this little state I live in.
“HOW COULD YOU forget?” my inner voice berated. “You are the one who always has this stuff together.”
My other inner voice tried to sneak in, “You had a lot going on in the fall. You moved and maybe the first notices got lost in the mail.”
I buckled myself up and went with my husband to get all this straightened out at our local DMV.
Needless to say, I was met with a stern woman who was probably just doing her job to remind me about the law as she told me I needed to drive to a full-service DMV 45 minutes away to fix what I had screwed up.
My inner dialogue soaked in her words like a dry sponge.
“HOW COULD YOU let this slip through the cracks? This is now going to cost you a whole day. And your husband to boot. The guy just came to change his address.”
SHAME continued to creep.
I cried. Then lashed out. My husband sat silently on the drive. I needed the voice of GRACE desperately. I asked for it in all the wrong ways. I was met with some truth from my beloved. “You are just projecting your bunk onto me.”
He was right, of course, but SHAME shouted louder.
“HOW COULD YOU not handle this well with your husband. You are only making it worse. You are supposed to have a good marriage.”
GRACE tried to speak clearly in the middle of the mess. “You are NOT a bad person, my friend, even though you’re making some mistakes. You’ve had a tough few months. You are going to be okay. You will learn and grow from this. You are loved no matter what.”
I wish I could tell you that the voice of GRACE won by the end of the day. It’s not true. I was still wallowing as I lay on my pillow and believed all the lies that SHAME had to tell me.
Fitful dreams came. I thrashed around, replaying the day over and over. UGH.
BUT, as I woke this morning, GRACE met me in full force. Too loud not to hear, quieting that ugly monster that destroys.
The sun peaked through the clouds for the first time in about a week. It streamed through my window reminding me that I am NOT the sum total of my wrongdoings or my bad attitude or my foibles. I am loved. I am beautiful. I can start again. I am not alone.
When SHAME says, “How could you?”, GRACE says, “I’m with you.”