Another issue of “Bless His Heart” is needed today … I hadn’t written much about my husband lately … but today I am yet again aware of the blessing a good man is. Mine is not perfect (and shockingly neither am I!) – but we often talk about how we’ve settled comfortably into being best friends, a parenting team, and a happy, very close couple (most of the time – as long as he’s doing things MY WAY – ha – just kidding!!). Right now, as I look around me at marriages, our relationship is a rare and precious thing I want to nurture. We will soon be celebrating our 19th anniversary – and I want to celebrate our 20th, 30th, 40th, and 50th if we are both still alive by then!
Yesterday my husband had a routine medical procedure that required sedation, so I took him to the medical center to be able to drive him home afterwards. Seeing him out cold on a hospital bed for a little while made me think of women who have critically ill husbands. For the most part, we have been healthy – and I am so thankful. Hospitals practically make me break out in hives! In fact, as I was waiting for Dan to wake up, I guess I was scrunched up, rubbing my arms, and frowning. A nurse came by and asked if I was cold … and I had to admit I was fine, just very nervous!
Thankfully, Dan came to quickly after a nurse talked to him a minute. She jokingly said I could ask him ANYTHING while he was still groggily coming out of the haze of anesthesia. So, I said, “What am I getting for Christmas?!” … Dan thought a minute and mumbled, “Your two front teeth.” The nurse laughed and said, “He’s just fine.”
As I helped Dan get ready after the procedure and took him home, I was just hit by such a wave of gratefulness that he was OK (even though he had 5 polyps cut from his colon/intestines! Everything was benign!) … and my only thought was I wanted him to have whatever he needed or wanted to be comfortable. He wanted mashed potatoes – with gravy – and while I’m not a fan of gravies, you bet I made him a big ol’ slew of taters with gravy. Later he said a Big Mac sounded good, so without even hesitating that’s what I went out to get him – with sweet tea because he said that sounded good too.
Now, on most days, I am more of the persuasion that if you’ve got 2 good legs, you can get your sweet tea yourself. I’ve got plenty of other things to do besides serve people who can serve themselves!
My problem is that I’ve worked at a school long enough to see too many spoiled kids who can’t do anything by themselves because their parents hover and do EVERYTHING for them. I’m talking I’ve seen 1st graders whose parents carry their backpacks out of the building for them – and sometimes even carry THE CHILD to the car?!?!?!?! Really?!!! I’m big on being independent – and that’s why I tend to NOT do everything for my kids like that. However, I’m sure there is a balance to find. [Don’t even get me started on the mother of a 7th grader who comes in EVERY DAY to write down her child’s homework assignments for her … My kids have been tracking their own homework since homework began. I call that “responsibility” … but I digress. :-x]
Back to my husband … and my children too: while I don’t naturally come by the nurturing gene, I do think I need to put some more effort in trying to let my family members know I love them by my acts of kindness towards them. I could literally see and feel my husband enjoy and appreciate the extra care he got from me yesterday (he obviously doesn’t get the royal treatment enough!). As the head of our house and the provider, he should be served occasionally – not because he couldn’t do it himself – but because he deserves appreciation and RESPECT through my acts of service.
Sometimes I tend to question if I take care of EVERYONE but myself: But then who will take care of ME!? And this is the lesson I’ve been learning over & over the last 5 years (probably longer but more concentrated lately): LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME! In fact, as a Christian, life is about glorifying God. While I know God doesn’t want us to be a used-up, worn-out dishrag or walked-all-over doormat, I do think there are enough verses about SERVING OTHERS in the Bible to prove our greatest JOY (Jesus – Others – You) comes from NOT thinking about our own needs. Those needs tend to get taken care of eventually – or not, if they weren’t necessary anyway. My deepest depressions have been during time periods when I’ve focused so much on MYSELF that I couldn’t even see outside my selfishness to God’s goodness. No one person will give us all we need anyway – not even the kindest husband or the sweetest children.
So, I’m working on changing my thinking about “spoiling” my family. No, I don’t want rotten, bratty, entitled kids or a husband who looks at me as a cook, maid, and housekeeper only — but I want to find that genuine balance of putting my family before myself. Yesterday showed me that I need to take care of – and nurture – what I have more. Living a selfless life isn’t what the world admires or promotes – but it is what God admires and promotes and even rewards. I am trusting that HE will take care of and nurture me the more I let go of my selfishness and trust Him.