Yesterday’s post inspired me to make supper before I left. I had plans to meet up with a church friend at a restaurant in town, something we’ve been making an effort to do once a month. I’ve known of women who before they go away have to write out detailed lists of what to feed the baby and where to find the food. They leave instructions on how long to thaw and bake the frozen casserole she already had made up in the freezer. My personality and marriage partnering has not required this of me.
I washed the sweet potatoes and took two more white potatoes from the pantry. My plan was to have the potatoes baking and the leftover ham from Easter dinner warming in the oven when I walked out the door. Before I could get the potatoes loaded, my husband came into the kitchen and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was making supper. This behavior of me making supper before I left undoubtedly was not the norm, was not what he or I had gotten used to over the past 18+ years of living in such close proximity to another person. We’re aware of the truths that marriage can bring.
Sometimes when I write here, I get this feeling like I haven’t said the right thing. I fear something I say is going to be misinterpreted to mean something I wasn’t intending to mean. For example, when I think more about my “heavenly” version of studying, I fear that might be taken to mean I’m somehow not happy with the ridiculously beautiful life and lifestyle I currently have. I cherish every day I have with my boys, and they are in no way hindering me or giving me any frustration in regards to my own responsibilities with school. My heavenly version of studying happens right here in my living room.
I don’t know where I developed my obsession with change, but something I’m discovering and becoming more at peace with is that when we’re ready to change, we make those changes. With the exception of God almighty, you absolutely cannot force change on a person, including yourself. My friend and I were talking about this over supper last night. She had her things. I had my things. There’s simply no sense in beating yourself up or anybody else for that matter. If something within the realm of my personal control bothers me enough, I can make the choice to do something about it.
Another thing we wondered is why it takes us so long to learn these life lessons. So much suffering and heartbreak, how much could’ve been avoided if we’d simply known the ways and had the wisdom beforehand? This is another area of life I’ve been having to make peace with. Are there things I would go back and change about my choices, behaviors, and beliefs that would’ve made life better or easier on myself and my loved ones? Yes and no. Obviously we can’t go back in time and change things. The world is screwed up, and the people who live here are screwed up along with it. There’s an element of sin and dysfunction that’s simply unavoidable due to living in a fallen world. I can take knowledge with me into the future, but God is the one who redeems our past.
If I could fix it myself, then I wouldn’t need God. I’d be missing out on the stunning ways in which he works to restore his beloved creation, including the children of man. Even my eager and headstrong attempts to redeem myself yesterday fell short. He had no idea I’d just written about my heartfelt desire to do him good, but the words were still very fresh in my mind. As I stumbled through my explanation of what I was doing, as my confidence began to sink among the invisible air waves of his apparent confusion and suspected displeasure, he responded in a way that brought back the old pain. I knew they’d be fine and could do it without me…I knew not everyone is a fan of sweet potatoes, that’s why I’d gone back and gotten the…I barely attempted it.
I left before he could see my tears. I went into the bathroom and starting picking up the crumpled pieces of toilet paper overflowing from the garbage can. Of all the things in marriage that are essential for the promotion the two partners long-term safety, security, and happiness, the needed way for their whole life long is the holy act of speaking to one another in a tender and respectful tone of voice. He came back to the bathroom and asked what I was doing in a way that helped me know he knew he’d done something that unintentionally or not, had hurt me. I stood up and told him I was cleaning the bathroom.
“Hey,” he said, in a way he does that now signals to me that this is my time to not not forgive.
He pulled me in.
“You’re a good wife.”