All was not well this morning in the Li household. It started okay. I woke up at 7:00 with a burst of energy. Forest was just going back to sleep after waking up at 6:30 and was looking forward to another hour or so of slumber. I am a morning person. He is not. So with my heart bursting with joy I ran downstairs and played beautiful songs on the piano and sang with an angelic voice all the way to the heavens.. or at least all the way to the bedroom..
My bubble was burst at breakfast when I heard comments like, “I slept so well when you were in California.” “These eggs are overcooked and too salty.” Ouch. At this point it is easy to just say. Forest is stressed and very grumpy and not appreciative enough and poor me. My parents don’t get grumpy when I sing in the morning. They love it! What’s his problem anyway?
But there is another side to the story..
While I was singing and playing angelic songs I left the door wide open and I was thinking. I wish Forest was here with me. He should enjoy the morning. He needs to get up earlier. Lord, please change Forest. Please make him more like me.
And come on, I poured my heart and soul into making breakfast. No, I was far more interested in staring at this thing.
I have to be social with someone don’t I? I have rights!
One thing I am so so grateful for in marriage to Forest is that we can’t leave tension for very long. And the magic words came. Taking ownership.
“Maybe next time, I should close the door while I am singing and playing piano.”
“Maybe I should focus on one thing at a time.”
“Maybe I should go to bed earlier and get up earlier.”
“It’s not your fault that I’m tired.”
“I forgive you.”
And what happened after that… well, that’s private 😉
When I was little, there were three invisible people that lived in our home. And they got blamed for everything. Their names were Mr. Nobody, Mr. I Don’t Know and Mr. I Didn’t Do It.
“Who left this mess on the floor?” My mom would ask.
“I don’t know!” “Nobody!” “I didn’t do it!”
This may seem like a modern phenomenon but it is found in ancient literature at the dawn of creation.
A wife tastes some yummy forbidden food after being told by a snake how good it is (never take advice from a snake!) and offers it to her husband. He doesn’t refuse.
An interesting conversation follows:
9 But the Lord God called to the man… “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3 ESV)
I have grown up reading this passage as “what not to do” teaching. But simply reading it hasn’t really changed me. What is it in my heart that gives me such clear eyes to see Forest’s faults while mine remain cloudy and convoluted for some time. Why is that I can ask for prayer and share easily about Forest’s stress and struggles and not quite as easily for my own?
The one answer that comes to mind is fear and pride.
When people think of me I want this image to come to mind- The capable, joyful, wise friend, wife, teacher, neighbour, sister etc…
Honestly, though the second picture often better describes what is going on inside my heart and mind. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and think “how did I get here where I own a house and have a husband and am suddenly a grownup?” “How do I navigate this?”
One way forward I am realizing is to get rid of those invisible scapegoats and say,
“I did it.” “Will you forgive me?” And trust that my husband is also learning and growing and we are on this journey together.
When Forest and I were engaged a wise old man asked us,
“Do you know what the three most important words in a marriage are?”
“I adore you?” Forest said. (Isn’t he adorable?!)
“No, the three words are, ‘I was wrong.”’
Last Sunday we were given this book:
Which is where I was reminded of the husband and wife/Adam and Eve/ fruit story.
Forest and I are not alone in our journey and I find great hope in the final lines from Eve’s character (p 3):
Whether it is simply morning grumpies and overcooked eggs or something much more weighty, there is a King who continually offers us His love and open arms. I’m going to run into those arms today.