When God Gives You One Sure Thing

This Christmas season has looked like no other–construction projects, appliance delivery disasters, and decorating plans consumed by service and energy poured out elsewhere. Perhaps it’s my age, but I’m grateful for the one sure thing I have–my blessed husband.

I hope you enjoy this re-post. I know it made me smile to read it.

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We’re standing in the kitchen.  I move fluidly from dishwasher to counter, bending, stacking–bowls, dishes, cups, goblets.

Husband is at the cupboard behind me.  I rotate, wordless, and hand him his favorite glass-he replaces it to the shelf and continues swallowing his vitamins.

I interrupt his healthy intake once again, this time with the rainbow-colored stack of Ikea cups.  Without a word, he fits them on the shelf next to our stash of kid-safe plastics.

I love our morning routine–coffee pot steaming and gurgling, the bird clock chiming it’s 8 am hour–the robin, I think–and the garbage truck outside our window beep-beep-beeping.

It all feels so safe–full of comfort and joy.  The silent, sure sounds of an easy morning, a gift to me, along with a view of the birds at our feeders. Their simple presence provides no end of amusement.

How restful to be here, next to my humming husband, the stronger part of our relationship. I smile at his silly whistling to the birds, his concern about feeding the squirrels outside the door; this early quiet time feels like we’ve been doing this for a thousand years.

God reminds me of a soul prayer I had at the beginning of Advent , not a spoken request, a written non-lament (in the book I never finished).  It was a prayer of wondering, “I don’t know what I want, but this is what I think I need”–and I realize the answer is standing right here next to me.

The wordless feeling like a well worn pair of old warm slippers, pouring my juice while I make the coffee, humming ‘Frosty the Snowman’ while I unload the dishes…It’s a quiet symphony of comfort and joy, a gift to my soul from my Saviour–a married Christmas.
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May you find that same comfort and joy this holiday season.

Glory.

What It’s Like to be Married Forever

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My husband and I are busy empty nesters (although a college grad with a whiz bang journalism job is renting our furnished basement apartment). We look forward to our Sunday mornings which hold the promise of worship and fellowship which feed our souls.

One recent Sunday while my husband was in worship, I hung out with the kids in Sunday School and played with dish soap, food coloring and milk.  We were each ministered to (being with kids energizes me) and looked forward to the rest our day.

Instead of stopping at the grocery store—‘Second Church’ where it seems we always meet a handful of fellow believers in the cereal aisle—we came straight home. We had Nothing Else to Do all day long.  What a glorious Sabbath Sunday indeed.

The cooler, gray Northwest weather wrapped around the morning like a warm wool sweater. All we wanted was a comfortable chair and a cup of coffee.

Whenever there’s a wide-open-with-possibilities stretch of time ahead of me, I mentally fill it up with way more activities than there is time in the day.  Maybe you can relate?  The upside to that is there are choices; the downside is I never know where to start.

I love words and books—reading and writing are my two favorite indoor pursuits.  Three book stacks were calling me, there was a poem to work on, letters to write and maybe I’d take this chance to have a crack at the memoir I’d started.

Of course it follows that sitting at the desk in our study is my number one Happy Place (except for the garden; but cool & gray, remember?)  I relished the idea of quiet time to type, write, read, whatever. Ahhh…the small joys of a room of my own.

I retired to the study with coffee in hand. Several lines had been written, a poem revised, I organized the story line for my memoir. Such productivity; I was basking in the just-me time.

Then my husband came in and sat at his desk.

Oh, shoot, he’s probably going to want to talk—Mr. Verbal Processor. Please, God. Maybe he could just sit at his computer and read emails. To himself, not out loud like he usually does. Please, God.

Computer pings on. No talking. At all.  I’m cautiously optimistic that my author zone will continue uninterrupted. Our backs are to each other, desks on opposite walls. I can’t see his computer screen but I hear a video of a worship song he enjoys (Casting Crowns). I like it too; I silently sing along under my breath while I focus on my work.

Next is another song by the same artists—the LIVE version.  Hard to ignore; okay I’ll just hum along, but NO talking or my desk time will be gone for sure.

He queues up Video Number Three. Now I turn around in my chair; clearly my alone time is over. Husband wants the airspace to worship and enjoy the music.

At this point I had two choices—grumble and moan about how I had been looking forward to working undisturbed just this once. Complain about how he was being inconsiderate playing the music so loud.
Asked him to mute it or use headphones.  All of those may have been a justified response.

But this is his Sunday, too.

For a retired person he works way too hard Monday through Saturday; he needed a place to do what ministered to his soul just as much as I did.

How would I respond?  Number one, I changed my attitude and decided to rejoice in his little soul-care decision. Why not be just as happy for him that he was doing something he enjoyed?

Next I brought my work—my laptop, books and poetry clipboard—into the living room. Then I went and got a cupcake to go with my lukewarm coffee—there are limits to being inconvenienced—and sat down in my favorite chair.

May I just say that it has taken me a  l – o – n – g time (43 years on July 14th) to learn to be anything near accommodating and accepting of my husband’s quirks and equally endearing ways?  I call that small Sunday miracle. 

Just ten years ago I would have been quite vocal about his choices, accused him of being selfish and unthinking, would have yelled at him about “my” needs and “my” space and on and on, completely ignoring that this house is his sanctuary, too.

Instead I decided to find a room with a different view, my own quiet and (my own cupcake) and left my husband to enjoy his Sabbath alone, in his own way.

I was delighted to be in my comfy, quiet chair in the peace and quiet of the cool, gray Sabbath Sunday. And I rejoiced—with a bite of cupcake—at God’s glue and my husband’s patience to keep us married almost forever.

Happy Anniversary, honey. 

Love, your word processor.

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Linking with Lyli for Thought Provoking Thursday

and Ms. Jennifer Lee for #TellHisStory

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Putting it Together

 

Our dining room is topsy turvy.
Kitchen chairs and barstools are hidden and stashed in a closet in the bedroom.
There’s no room for but four people at our dining table.
The living room bookshelves now attend the table, stacked on their sides and emptied, banana boxes stuffed with the contents.

Pieces of furniture are arranged Rubik’s-cube-like so they j u s t  f i t in the space we have. (My husband, aka McGyver), has always been an expert car-trunk-packer and dishwasher-stacker.)  His eye for detail and small spaces is so very opposite the broadstroke approach I take to looking at life.

Bill repositions the dining table to fit the space, while I make sure the chairs are facing the right direction i.e., towards the window so I can look out at the birds while I type.

 

We each have our priorities (I know what’s important–it’s all about the view.

We’re getting ready for a new season —Home Improvement.  (It comes right after Christmas and just before Spring.) 
In a couple of weeks we have new carpet coming, along with 3 rooms of laminate flooring in the bedrooms and 2 bathrooms scheduled for new linoleum. Hence the moving around and make room so things  F I T….

I’ve heard tell that times like this can wreak havoc in a marriage, but so far we are weathering the chaos well.
It is a miracle of God the way the pieces of our lives have been fit together to stay put, no matter how many times we change rooms and views.  
How is that possible?  By constantly adjusting and fine tuning.  Giving, taking, apologizing, forgiving. Working on being suitable to one another.

“FIT” is the word God gave me for this year and He is making sure I have a chance to live it out in an all too real way.  
The Message Bible says this in Psalm 7, verses 9 & 10:

“You get us ready for life: you probe for our soft spots, 
you knock off our rough edges.
And I’m feeling so fit, so safe:
made right, kept right.”
I thought about all this fitting into the challenging places of a marriage when I was reading Chapter 10 of ‘Booked–Literature in the Soul of Me’.  Professor Karen Swallow Prior teaches English Literature and writes in a remarkable way about finding God in the middle of good books.

In a connection I never would expect to find between John Donne’s poetry and spirituality, Prior writes:   “God used marriage to gentle me.”

Indeed, God is using marriage to gentle me.  I am discovering each day, each month, each year that, 
“marriage is a metaphor that is a picture of the kind of love God has for his people: self-sacrificing and other-focused, spiritual and physical, earthly and transcendent, reasonable and passionate.” (‘Booked’, p. 187.)
 
Marriage is a job of work, as my sweet friend Judy has told me over the years.
And,
“To join the unlike– a man and a woman, reason and passion,
(finding the view and stacking the books) is the work of the poet and of God.”  (ibid.)
 
Fit–“adapted to and suited to one another”–for life, for marriage.
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