4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV.
Threre I sat in the hard, cramped pew as the above verse flashed upon the widescreen. My three sons sat between Dave and I, restless, and I found my hands constantly re-directing body parts and heads as the three boys wiggled and crowded one another in our cramped quarters. In the midst of the reading, the usher asked for us to make room for a married couple with a newborn baby; attached in a baby Bjorn. Instinctively I asked the boys to sit back as the couple maneuvered their way past us and sat to my right. I immediately felt chagrined as they clumsily crossed our family of five; already crammed, and realized I should have offered to move over and give them the aisle. The young baby cried and fussed and my guilt increased ten-fold. I was there once. What was I thinking? As we exited our mass various families smiled or waved at us. My older sons altar serve at this church but today they were not scheduled; hence the pew issues.
I felt this small. I returned home to the mess and felt my anger continue to build; mostly at myself. I found myself slamming doors and, finally, throwing plastic cups all over my messy tile floor. The four boys remained in the computer area; silently questioning what had come over their mother/wife. I finally retreated upstairs taking deep, cleansing breaths. The litany of I wish… lists were running through my head and I was looking for a scapegoat. There was laundry to be done, a house to be cleaned and science projects to be completed when all I longed for was to be outside in the beautiful weather. I had already bailed on a Super Bowl party, due to a hacking cough the youngest continued to have, and had plenty of time to get the things I wanted done. But I wanted more.
As I fumed, with clenched fists, the above verse came into my head. It was our wedding verse and over the years it appears in church readings and Bible studies often. I looked at the torn curtains and pillows upon my bed, torn from our newest feline in our household. My frustration grew. Things were deteriorating all around our house, in constant disrepair, while the rest of my family turned a blind eye to it all; content to be lost in technological bliss. I looked at my unshaven husband and added another I wish to the list running rampant in my head. I am NOT a fan of facial hair and he knows this. It’s his form of rebellion after having to shave, daily, while serving in the military. I wanted to scream. I wanted to rant. But I continued to exhale; knowing my words would be bitter and hurtful. I have learned that day-to-day choices are much more important than the milestones; in the bigger picture of life. With much restraint; I bit my tongue.
23 Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief. Proverbs 21:23 The Message.
As I cleaned up, after an amazing Super Bowl, and the kids were in bed; the hubby silently watched me vacuum and grabbed the mop and bucket from the garage. When I am angry; I clean. He knows me well. I fussed that I would do it but he calmly wielded the mop and within half-an-hour my tile floor, and plastic cup shards, were clean. I sat on the stairs and apologized; explaining the real trigger of my rant; maintaining our life. All I see is deterioration.
I went to turn off lights, upstairs, and heard a voice in the dark say, “I’m sorry, Mom, that you didn’t have a good weekend.” I humbly walked to the bed to see the whites of my middle son’s eyes; staring at me in the hall light’s reflection. I sat on the bed, amidst the quiet snores of my other two boys, and hugged him. The hubby, overheard, and gave me a bear hug on the stair landing.
Each day I have a choice. This weekend I opted to look at the bad; the negative. But as I headed to bed I would make this same choice, again, for the man who stands beside me, and the three sons that jostle around each day. One day these voices will not echo off these walls. Love truly is the most important thing of all. It humbles, it is patient. It does not record the mistakes. It perseveres.