The silverware drawer was full of coffee. The odds and ends at home in this niche were swimming in the cold, brown liquid. The automatic feature of my coffee maker is a marvel dreamed up by the angels themselves. The instant gratification of pouring a steaming mug the moment my bleary eyes and shuffling footsteps can get me to the kitchen is pure, unadulterated bliss. But when the carafe doesn’t get emptied before the lovely little machine begins brewing its fragrant morning nectar, my coffee receptacle overfloweth.
My husband had forgotten to empty the carafe the night before. Again. Normally the mess is contained to the counter top; a nuisance to be sure, but not too terribly inconvenient. This time, however, the excess liquid had found its way straight into the drawer, creating a monstrous mess.
Now I don’t know about you, but in my world these sorts of inconveniences only seem to happen when I am:
2.) Already peeved about some other thing.
3.) Feeling pressed for time.
This day was no exception. The fury that coursed through me was a bit surprising in its intense, raw, immediacy. From the depths of my gut rose a growling battle cry, my husband’s name bursting from my lips in guttural tones. It actually flashed through my mind that it sounded eerily similar to Captain Kirk’s iconic cry, “Khhaaannnn!” However, the red haze in my brain rendered me incapable of appreciating the absurdity of this.
One of my daughters, hearing this outburst of anger directed at her daddy, promptly burst into tears. As I slammed dripping utensils and kitchen gadgetry into the sink, she ran to her room wailing. I honestly didn’t have it in me to give her any comfort whatsoever. It took every ounce of my admittedly short supply of self control to not allow my rage to escalate any further.
I wish I could say that I repented of my childishness in short order. The truth is, I continued to be steamed for hours. In fact, I am still feeling prickly as I write this. Regardless, I am reminded in these moments what marriage is all about.
It is putting on our big girl panties and accepting that the world doesn’t revolve around us. Stuff happens. I can either choose to sit and stew on the little things, or I can roll with changes in my precious schedule. I can allow a small derailment to bring out the worst in me and emotionally vomit on whoever is unlucky enough to be present, or I can take a deep breath and find something praiseworthy in the situation. My utensil drawer is now cleaner than it’s been in months.
It is not taking it personally when our mate does something to inconvenience us. Do I think my man deliberately set out to make my morning suck? Do I think he likes forgetting things like this and causing me grief? Of course not. But we often act as though our offender is sitting up at night just dreaming up ways to tick us off. That is silly and self-centered thinking.
It is about extending grace even when we don’t really feel like it. I did not marry a perfect man. And my husband most assuredly did not marry a perfect woman. If we do not choose to freely extend forgiveness, our lives will be miserable. In many ways we’re still growing up together, so though I still feel annoyed, I will choose grace. Further, when my equanimity returns, I’ll assess how to better handle such situations in the future. Ideally, without traumatizing any of my loved ones!
Lord, help me to choose to love today. Give me the humility to ask for forgiveness when needed. Give me the grace to extend it to others. Thank you for reminding me in unexpected ways of what this living is all about.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2, NIV)