Suffering is all around us. Always. Hard times befall us all and there is no escape hatch. This week it is a family that we know of from our earlier days of football here in WV. The husband is on life support. Hearing of a husband on life support always instantly transports me back in time to when my own husband was on life support. So this morning, in running an errand that had to do with that local family, I returned home with our story fresh on my mind, only to hit the power button on the computer and see there was a shooting this morning at Bostons Brigham and Womens hospital. B & W is the place where the Yankee and I spent his life support time.
I had given a friend the brief version of our near death experience this morning and she replied, "Look at him now!" Yes indeed, look at him now. Wth God, all things ARE possible. God's grace, even when we choose to neither see it or acknowledge it, is nothing short of phenominal. Now, we prepare for Homecoming again! Times filled with a great static of excitement, anticipation, airport pick ups, and getting used to having a man in the house again. And, for my part, lots and lots of prayers of making a home for him he can SO enjoy, considering he spends 24/7 eating out of Styrofoam containers with plastic utensils..and guns, lots and lots of guns. And though home means more to him than fine china, good silverware, and resting peacefully, it is all of those little things that can help bring the man joy in the miniscule amounts of time he has to enjoy his own home.
Must a man go off to a dangerous job for his Homecoming to be special? What if he works 9 - 5 or he works the night shift and comes home exhausted.
Engrained on my heart is a story a dear friend once told me of how she had been yelling at her husband only to have him turn around and walk out the front door, completely deflated. She followed him, ignoring his sagging shoulders, determined to keep up the arguing...until she took one look at his face. "What is it?" she said, still mad as he turned to her with the saddest face and said, "I have never felt like less of a man than you just made me feel in there." And we are talking about a couple that loves one another dearly. But we all do it, don't we ladies? And we either learn, or we choose not to learn. Its one of the things I love so dearly about this friend. She always takes those teachable moments and turns them into opportunities to love her husband even more, give him the respect as the head of their household even when he isn't doing things exactly the way she would do them.
1 Corinthians 11: 3-9
In a marriage relationship, there is authority from Christ to husband, and from husband to wife. The authority of Christ is the authority of God. Any man who speaks with God or about God in a way that shows a lack of respect for the authority of Christ, dishonors Christ. In the same way, a wife who speaks with God in a way that shows a lack of respect for the authority of her husband, dishonors her husband. Worse, she dishonors herself—an ugly sight
Shortly after the Yankee almost died, we went out to dinner a lot because there were a lot of people who wanted to see him and get to spend time with him. People we didn't normally get to see on a regular basis. I remember one couple in particular that had so many questions for us. It had been about a month since The Yankee had been out of the hospital and the wife looked at me and said, "Wow, I bet after almost losing him, you two NEVER fight any more." Well now!!!! How I would have enjoyed the fairy tale answer on that one!! "Oh no, life is too precious, we never, ever fight!!" But the truth was, not only did near death NOT KEEP us from fighting, we were actually on a road that neither of us even saw at the time, one that, in the next couple of years, would lead us to contemplating our own divorce! Lesson learned? I THINK NOT!!!!
Lots of years would go by before I learned what God was trying to show me in this part of our life. Truth be told, we are still learning, always learning. Now we have an inside joke (well, not so inside now because I am sharing it with all of you!) that if we even start to argue, one of us will just say "choose joy" and the argument will be over. Sounds simple doesn't it?.....Choose joy. Funny thing is, it works like a champ! All of those years I couldn't choose joy, not even after facing his death and almost losing him. Choosing joy wasn't an option because I needed to make sure my voice was being heard, my needs were being met, my happiness was important.....ugh! That pretty much sums up why I hate the phrase "It's all about me" so much, because apparently, at one time in my life, that WAS me!!! Ever not want to do something nice for someone until they have lavished your world with niceness first? Hey, hello..yes you, the one reading this, sometimes...and this is an amazing thing...sometimes, when we do the nice gesture first ( EVEN WHEN WE THINK THE OTHER PERSON DOESN'T DESERVE IT), do you know it actually makes that other person want to be nice to us too? Its amazing really!!! The same goes for respecting our husbands even if we do not believe they deserve our respect. It works. Funny thing when I finally realized God actually knew what He was talking about!
So, its no secret my husbands job is dangerous. Police officers, soldiers, firemen, coal miners...heck, the list goes on and on and on of dangerous jobs. And granted, a dangerous job can help you to NOT take your man for granted a little more than a non-dangerous job. But I encourage you today, right here, right now, at 5:30pm or 5:30 am, when your man walks through the door from his dangerous or his not so dangerous job...don't wait around for him to do something nice for you. Let him know he is welcome and accepted and respected in his own home just the way he is, every single day. Because you never, ever know when life support could be just around the corner.