At work, it was my demented colleague who was causing me all the issues.
At home, it was my kids who were messing up my house and wrecking all my plans.
It was always other people's fault, that I was angry, or stressed, or rushed, or upset.
I was thinking about how completely into the blame game I used to be this morning, when I accidentally smashed my last treasured glass from a long-ago holiday to Venice, because one of my kids left it in the sink under some other things without telling me.
As I shifted the plates out the way to start washing up, I heard the sound of breaking glass and sure enough, my last pretty yellow goblet from Venice was history.
You know me well enough by now to not be shocked when I told you that for the first five seconds, I still got pretty upset, angry and blaming.
"WHO left the cup in the sink!?"
God's in the world
But then, I remembered that God was in the world, and I calmed right back down.
It's currently the three weeks, a time in Jewish history known for trouble and calamity, so if God was fixing it that I was getting a small difficulty via a broken glass, I was getting off pretty lightly.
Sure, it had sentimental value. Every time I saw it, I used to think of that Venetian holiday we took before my kids were born…and then I'd start feeling a bit weird that I couldn't afford to do that in a million years' now, even if I wanted to…and then I'd remember how much spare cash, and what a nicely done-up house I lived in then…and to cut a long story short, you can see how God actually did me a favour by smashing that cup.
When you really try to see God behind all the stuff in your life, even the annoying, upsetting, frustrating things that your kids and husband do, life really does get a ton more sweeter, and easier to manage.
But it's not a fast process to see the world through those non-blaming eyes, and it takes years and years of reminding yourself, and training yourself, to actively choose against the blame game, and to see God.
To give another example, just now as I sat down to type this, I leaned back in my desk chair, and nearly fell off it backwards, twingeing my back in the process. The same annoying kid who was behind the cup getting smashed (albeit, indirectly) had been fiddling with the levers on my chair (it's summer and she's bored…), transforming it from a cosy office chair to a dangerous contraption.
Again, the first five seconds I was livid. I've spoken to her about not touching the chair on a number of occasions, and this time, I really hurt myself. I saw red for a few seconds…until I remembered that God is in the world.
God arranged for me to hurt my back by falling off my chair.
I still asked my daughter to leave my chair alone (for the millionth time) and explained what had happened, but I did it in a much calmer tone, without trying to load a ton of blame, guilt and shame on her for trying to cripple her poor mother.
Afterwards, I marvelled at myself: How did I manage to do that?
The answer came in a flash: only with personal prayer, and a huge amount of Heavenly Help, because believe me, it was an open miracle.
My daughter is definitely benefitting from me trying to opt out of the blame game, but truly, the biggest winner is me. When you play the blame game, even if it's convincing, it still leaves you with a ton of anger, resentment, vengeance and hatred to have to work through and dispose of.
That stuff puts such a huge load on your nervous system, and directly impacts your emotional and physical health, albeit in ways that are often very hidden.
The less I play the blame game, the lighter and happier I feel about things. Even when my family heirlooms get smashed; even when my back gets thrown out; even when people do or say some very hurtful things, knowing that really God's behind it all makes is so much easier to come through smiling.