“SHUT UP!!!” I exploded. “If you don’t be quiet, I’m pulling over and you can hitchhike the rest of the way home!”
The silence between my husband and myself the rest of the way home was deafening. I don’t normally drive when we are together but he had an appointment with the surgeon and it was doctor’s orders that I drive. Driving Bob after a surgery isn’t bad. He’s whooped and doped up from the procedure so has little to nothing to say. He obviously had clarity of mind and most of his strength back on the day of his follow-up because his regular, horrible passenger self turned up. I’m not one usually given to explosions, I internalize more. I’d rather not speak until I can think things through. And I rarely utter “shut up”. I don’t like it. It seems incredibly rude and just, well, rude. I don’t want to hear it so I refrain from saying it. But that day, oh, that day, I had had ENOUGH.
Poor Bob couldn’t know that his grousing would be the cause of my tipping point. Unfortunately for him, it was. I had stuff, lots of stuff, weighing me down. He didn’t know it, or forgot it, or simply didn’t think much of it (since, naturally, his only and main business was recovering) but they were stresses to me.
For one, he had his surgery. The stress of sending a loved one, no matter the procedure, to unconsciousness and the knife is bad enough. Add to that some old fart in the waiting room condemning your loved one’s recovery because she had a bad experience. I rebuked her out loud in the name of Jesus, by the way, told her Bob was covered in prayer, and got an “AMEN!” from someone sitting behind me. Still, that was an upset. I’m certain satan sent her.
For two, our family had appointments of one sort or another every single day but one of the week of Bob’s surgery. Run, run, run. And in the midst of the running, I was planning/preparing extra healthy meals to aid him in healing and giving instructions to whoever was left with him as to what to do while I was gone. Then I was right back to caregiver as soon as I returned. The girls were great nurses. And I applaud Bob. He may be a horrible passenger for me but he’s actually not too bad a patient. The fact is, I rarely know anything’s wrong with him unless he seems exceptionally irritable for no apparent reason. I’d rather he just told me he didn’t feel good.
For three, I was not feeling quite well myself. Probably stress wearing me down. Physically, blah, but it was the emotional, mental crap that really dragged me down. My reflection has not been my friend as of late. I caught sight of myself in a full length mirror recently and I was shocked. The added pounds, the long, frizzy looking hair–just who was this run-down woman staring back at me?
On top of that were my feelings of inadequacy. We’d had a chance meeting at a relative’s office (long story). Witnessing her in her “place” punched me in the gut that I’m not in mine. At least, I don’t feel like I’m in mine. I love my role as homemaker, wife, and mom, but nothing I do helps pay the bills. Nothing alleviates the financial weight my husband alone bears. And my “place”, my writing, I love it but I don’t know what to do with it. And tell Bob all of this? No.
As of late, he’d been an incredible source of pain to me. I’d been feeling like I couldn’t do anything right by him. It wasn’t because of anything particular that he said, it rarely is. Maybe because of how he speaks at times, but it’s mostly because of what he doesn’t say that I feel ground to powder. I admit that I wonder, if I should die before him, what he’ll say then. Will he utter the words that I ache to hear now, while I am alive, but he won’t say it because he’s “not like that”. Not like what? Not capable of being the man he was before we were married? The one who talked with me for hours about random stuff? The one who wasn’t afraid to bare his heart? The one who made me feel like the most sought after woman in the entirety of the world? Yeah, sometimes I wonder if he’ll wait ’til I’m dead and that makes me sad.
Bob’s back to work. My place is restored in my glider rocker chair in the corner of the living room. I had a sit-down with the LORD. I dumped on Him. I poured out my judgments, anger, and resentments against various people. Some of what I prayed kind of surprised me as it had been hiding in a dark corner somewhere. Nothing surprised me more than unearthing some anger that I had towards God. I’ve encountered this before. I admitted and repented of a lot of garbage and our relationship had been running pretty smoothly between us for quite some time. I honestly don’t know when I started collecting rocks again concerning Him.
I heard a minister say he doesn’t understand how anybody can be angry with God. That could bring condemnation, but I don’t let it. Here’s the thing: Is not this a relationship that I have with Him? How many people cruise through their relationships totally anger free? I don’t. My anger is not a reflection on Him, it’s a reflection on me, and my need to let Him cultivate the kind of love that He has inside of me. I am hoping and praying that I mature to the place, and my love is perfected in such a way, that I no longer become angry with my Creator, but apparently I’m not there yet. And you know what? He knows that. So why pretend? All it does it create chasms between us.
After confessing, repenting, and crying, I felt better. But there was still poor Bob. The stuff he puts up with. Then, of course, the record starts playing in my head about what an awful wife I am, yada, yada, yada. Then I remind myself that he’s no peach to live with all of the time either, blah, blah, blah. Then I wonder why, Why, WHY, can’t I permit myself to be human? My efforts to live in the divine make me crazy sometimes. I try too much in my humanity to do what only God can do spiritually. If I’d just let Him do His work life would be so much easier for me. For Bob. For everyone in my sphere. There I go, trying again.
Know what’s encouraging? I’m catching these things earlier. I’m becoming more pliable in God’s hands as I loosen the grip of my own. I’m forgiving myself and others quicker. Offenses are becoming less and less as I look at others through eyes of compassion. What have they suffered? What have they gone through? How would I like to be treated when I am hollering, “SHUT UP!!!” on the highway? Do I want grace? Absolutely! And I’d like the luxury of having a melt down periodically while someone comes afterward to tell me that they love me anyway.
Join me today and be soothed while listening to Jonny Diaz’s “Breathe”.
I close with this:
It’s going to be all right.
I don’t know why, but that calms me. Maybe it’ll do the same for you.
And because nothing has clout like God’s Word, I leave you with these scripture verses:
Isaiah 40:28-31 English Standard Version (ESV)
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.