Friday, July 20, 2012

HEAD and shoulders, KNEES and TOES

Are you tired of hearing about our move and readjustment yet???

I am also.

Why this move has been so difficult for me particularly I just cannot put my finger on,  frankly.

It just happened to be a pivotal time for me as a Mother and Friend and especially as a Wife.


That all-encompassing word that changes your life and even your view of yourself.

But especially your selfishness.


Joel has flown back to Ohio and taken flight in his new position and responsibilities.

And in the shuffle of finding my spot, even my row of chairs in the auditorium where I feel comfortable, I have felt aloof to the one I am joined at the hip to.

Yes, I am willing to admit that publicly.

It was terrible.

I can handle the rush, the new, the hard and the unexpected as long as his hand is in mine and I am not one step behind him.

One helpless feeling night at church I had given away my very last smile for the evening. I cannot even tell you what the sermon was on, I just knew that I needed to run head--long to the altar. It was a cry for God to see me and meet with me, and it just happened to be as close as I could get to Joel. :)

My heart unloaded all of my worries, my insecurities, my disappointments and the like to my heavenly Father and he met me with one request.

It has been my experience that whenever I have the "List" He swipes it for something singular and tangible. LOVE that.

And this was no exception.

It was a book actually. A book that I had purchased (ahem) years ago and refused to use. It is called "The Husband Project." Three action--packed weeks of non-stop kindness towards you-know-who. When it arrived, I devoured it on a mile walk on the treadmill. Then it happened.

Something. Anything. A hurt, a blight, a disconnect.

And the book made it's way into the bottom dresser drawer and then to a packed box and then to a closet where it sat very peaceably I might add....

Until that Sunday night.

He told me to go and get it.


He could have asked me to start a well in Uganda and I would have smiled and returned to my seat ready to conquer the world. But THIS?

I sighed a loooooong "Really? It has to get worse before it gets better?" sigh.

But I heard. I would obey. Half-heartedly, but I would.

I grabbed an accountability partner at church because I am funny like that, and away we went.

Week one, this and that, bonus projects and me trying to hide this book from Joel. I would smile a "Do you know how lucky you are to have the Holy Spirit commanding me to do this project on you?" smile across the table at dinner while I passed the peas.

Lovely, I know. You can stop right here and hate on me, but you know you have been there......or may be there right now. Read on, you have a safe spot with me friend.

Week two I find myself forgetting where I "HID" the book and that alone makes me want to spit. My sweet friend is learning like myself that self is big, bad and ugly and this is harder than we thought. I did so poorly on week two that I was prompted to do the whole week's projects over again. Prompted could be more likely to be described  as " drug through the mud,"  by my Patient Heavenly Father. In a spiritual sense of course..... I really want to be right, and I want to please Him, and so I grab a chocolate malt from the corner ice cream joint, my hubs favorite,  to take home to him...... and one for myself because, Hey, a little self kindness never hurt anybody......

Week three my self is just refusing to die and I am struggling. I will not comment on how many times the book  landed in the trash and I felt that same prompting to rescue it before a little took out the bedroom trash.

All this and Joel has no idea of my Jekyll and Hyde spiritual struggle going on.

And so I swallow my pride and serve myself another slice of humble pie while preparing his favorite meal. I cannot say for sure but I am of the opinion that in this whole three week process I had the same look on my face as "Cathy" in the Sunday Comics. You know the face....... the hair, the grimace.....

Some projects were fun. Some where really fun. Some were hard, a LOT were hard. Because it took me laying aside what I thought or felt or wanted even in the midst of a million insecurities and focus on him.

MY him. Because THE He knew that it isn't about me.

This is NOT where I end with "And we lived happily ever after..." because I am not perfect. And though sometimes I think he is......he really isn't either.

Two imperfect people living side by side causes conversations between high school friends like, "Why didn't anyone ever tell us that Marriage was SO HARD???!" and even some more "Cathy" faces occasionally.

I need God to work through me, helping me see others as He sees them.

He sees my husband as his precious son. And He just wants to make sure he is loved here on Earth. He met with me at that altar and looked me in the heart and said, "I just want Joel to be loved. Can I trust you with that??? Even if you don't feel like he deserves it?"

And the rotten truth is that I don't deserve it either.

Come and skip ahead a week or two with me to a husband laid-up with crutches, kids covered in mud and mulch, three visitors unexpected, dinner dishes, a new stain on a brand new shirt and the like.....

(Think Cathy, think Cathy.....)

And I am running from getting things for my husband downstairs to the girls in the tub and way too many floating pieces of wood sticking to newly soaped legs and bottoms. I am visitored-out, tired, short, and ready to spank everyone just for good measure.

In the distance I see the cooking magazine and the chair and even a cookie or two or three.... and I am at rest.

Joel has been laid-up for days, weeks really and I am feeling mad that I am doing everything tonight.

Then I am just struck dumb.

He is hobbling over to me.

MY he.

He is carrying a basin of water and a bar of my favorite soap.

I am a cookie covered hot mess.

He takes my foot in his hand and begins to wash it, taking the utmost care to try to replicate a spa treatment. A little sits by him and watches him, and it is almost more than I can take. I am mad at him, and the act of my will humbling is almost making me more mad.

The little asks Joel of all things, why Jesus washed his disciples feet.

Now I am an object lesson!??

He smiles up at me  knowing how uncomfortable I am feeling and begins the story, "Jesus wanted to show the disciples that the greatest among them, the ones he desired to follow him were to be the servants." And the little asks him, "Why did Peter not want his feet washed, Dad?" And Dad tells them that Peter didn't understand what Jesus was trying to illustrate. And Jesus had to explain to him that if he didn't have his feet cleaned he didn't have a part with following Him. The little then remembers that Peter then wanted ALL of him clean, and Joel notes that once we are cleansed from sin, we have no need to be washed again, save our feet.

Our feet symbolize us walking in this world. We will sin, and we will disappoint, and we will need our feet cleansed again and again. We will need daily repentance.

And the little heads to bed and I am humbled and grateful and thankful and amazed that I could struggle for three straight weeks and he can pick up some soap and a towel as if it was nothing.

And we smile and talk about how life is hard right now, but still good.