Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Perspective

I just came home from my Tuesday night men's group. It's two hours every week from 8-10PM where we study the Bible, pray for each other, and hold one another accountable. We usually talk a lot about how we can be better husbands and fathers. And tonight was no different. I found myself asking God during our closing prayer to show us new ways to show love to our wives.

Then I biked home, and found that we have zillions of toys in the yard (including a snow sled) and the garage door is still up. I walked in the house and it's nearly 80 degrees. The kitchen was in bad shape from dinner. There were plates on the table, groceries still out, a pile of clean dishes drying in the sink with a stack of dirty ones waiting their turn. There's items scattered about from a trip to the pool, and the trash is full. The TV is on downstairs.

I'm exhausted and I really don't want to lift a finger at this point and I think that this should wait until tomorrow, which would mean that it's Beth's to fix. But then I look back at my day...
  • I rolled out of bed at 7:30
  • I worked from 8:30 until 6:00 doing something I love and am passionate about
  • I arrived home to two worn out, but happy boys
  • I constructed a (purposely) non-functioning slingshot out of a stick and rope at Ian's persistent request
  • I danced with my boys to some new MP3s I bought with an Amazon.com gift certificate from my birthday
  • I ate a nice, simple meal that Beth prepared
  • I started the bath-time/bed-time process with the boys
  • I went to my weekly men's group
Then, I try to imagine Beth's day.
  • Caleb crawled into our bed unbeknownst to me at 5 AM. She woke up and carried him to the potty to avert disaster.
  • She had to get herself showered and ready for the day with no help keeping the boys in line while she did it
  • She and the boys cleaned and picked up most of the house
  • She and the boys went to the grocery store
  • She took the boys to the pool and wore them out so that we could have an easy bed time this evening
  • She fixed dinner
  • She dealt with all discipline issues
  • She finished up the bedtime routine after I left
  • She did not complain once, nor does she ever really, about me leaving in the evening after having been away all day at work
  • And now, when I come home, I find that she's in the basement (with the TV on), finally able to do something for herself.
My day seems nothing like her day, and in fact seems ridiculously simple and pleasant. And so I wordlessly clean the kitchen, ashamed that I even considered abandoning her to it. And when I get it looking reasonable, I tell myself that "reasonable" isn't good enough if there's still work for her to do in the morning so I keep on keepin' on. And by no later than 10:45, it's pretty clean. It really was more effort to screw up my resolve than it was to do the actual work.

I head downstairs to see Beth and say hello for the first time after having gotten home, and discover that she's been folding laundry all this time. And, of course, if you're in our basement for more than 2 seconds, you turn the TV on because folding laundry is a pretty wretched activity otherwise.

So, instead of sitting down, I pick up a laundry basket and head up the stairs with it. On my way up, Beth tries to tell me what an awesome husband she thinks I am. She says - get this - "Why is it that when I come home to a mess I just get really mad, but you don't treat me that way", and then she tries to tell me how I'm a much nicer spouse than she is. Definitely not true. It's really all a matter of perspective.


Ephesians 5:25 - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her

Philippians 2:3 - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

1 comments:

ftmomma said...

well, you're still just proving that you are a wonderful husband!!! You actually stop to consider what my day has been like, and my favorite thing, you have begun to realize that even though there may be a mess, the house did go from messy to clean at least once during the day! :-) And you care about what my day will be like the next day.