Weathered Well Together

This is a special place to be…

You know your marriage has weathered well when love brings you to the place where you bear the other’s sharp word or dark mood, knowing as you do that these raw places cover a weary or wounded soul and require tenderness, not scorn or assault. Forgiveness is given, easily, before it’s ever asked, the scuffle brushed away, no more bother than a stray piece of lint.

via winncollier.com.

… and it takes time.

It takes understanding over the long haul.

It takes listening first, second and third more often than not.

I confess, it means I should mute the TV or turn it off to keep traveling towards this space in the journey together.

We went to Greenville, SC last Friday, just the two of us. We walked. We ate wonderful food. We saw Falls Park and all the upgrades around the Downtown area.

Mostly, I enjoyed that we were there together. The walking, the words, the silence – all coming through as part of the long haul kind of  life we’re living out together.

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Because It’s Friday, and Because It’s Bubble Wrap

As our kids have grown up over the past sixteen-plus years, one of the wonderful influences on their young lives has been Veggie Tales. So when C showed me this Silly Song With Larry – well, I just needed to make sure everyone had the joy of singing vegetables and bubble wrap…

Grateful much…?

As I get older, I hope I am more grateful. Hope – because in reality I know I take much of this life’s blessing for granted. Even in this short workweek, I’m thankful for my family and all we’ve been able to enjoy; for my job and the challenges that keep it fun; for opportunities to build on the past and learn going forward.

But then I also want to take a nap, to be selfish with my coffee, to find the remote and surf the channels for a few good days. Is that so wrong?

Maybe. Being grateful is one of those character traits, I think, that must be fed, that must be exercised and worked out from within. I can’t make someone say, “thank you” – you can try with your toddlers, but if they don’t get that gratitude is more than the words, then you’ll have a selfish teenager on your hands.

Not that we’ve got selfish teenagers. Somewhere along the line, we did it right. Or they did. Or something beyond us did (my vote is actually on that one), because they’re good kids who have their moments but by-and-large are grateful and caring.

When we start with Thanksgiving, and we start with family, it’s cool that we get to see firsthand how being grateful pays off with the folks who know you the best day in and day out.

growing up

I almost titled this post, “getting older” – because it’s about our kids. But I think that phrase, getting older, is more about me at this point, from my perspective and not necessarily theirs. For them, they are growing up – it’s a positive thing, a hopeful thing in their lives. As the are getting older, they are gaining insight, maturity (please, Lord, let them gain maturity), responsibility, talents, dreams. Growing up, to them, sounds so much better than being little kids who have to listen and obey and do whatever they’re told.

They are growing up.

And as I move through my own growing up and getting older, I want them to know that I am behind them 100%. Especially in disciplinary actions, I think. Had a really discombobulating interaction with the manchild yesterday. He didn’t want to go to church – “I don’t feel good” – “What hurts, son? Where do you feel bad?” – “I don’t know” – all taking place while he’s at the PC or in front of a video game. His two choices given were to get up, get dressed and go with us to church, or to just get up and go to church in his pajamas – but either way, he was going to go to church with us.

“But, Dad, I don’t feel good, really” – “Okay, I sympathize, but you’re well enough to play, and I think you’ll be okay for church and then we’ll be home to rest up and play this afternoon” – “No, I’m not going”. At this point, my conflicted innards were wanting to yank a literal and proverbial knot in his tail. “You need to choose to get up right now” – “I’m not” – “That’s a bad choice. Go to your room. Stay there. No video games. No PC. You can stay, but what you’re choosing will be so far below what you thought, that I hope you’ll reconsider.” – “I’m not going to church”, and he marched upstairs to his bed.

I went to the breaker box and cut power to his bedroom. No video games. Then we moved the PCs and the TV remotes. And the three-others-of-us went to church. Vicki called to check on him later. I told her to do it, didn’t think I could maintian the composure I wanted to hold. We bought lunch, came home, and his attitude had not been adjusted.

Hmmph.

Later in the afternoon, I restored power to his room. This morning, he’s allowed back on the PCs. We are currently moving forward as if nothing happened. He’s funny sometimes – as he’s grown into his own person, there are just sometimes when you cannot get through the hardness of his head and probably his heart. I like to think part of my getting older has made me aware of what battles to fight, which ones to postpone, and which to let play out without losing my cool. As this one continues to play out, I’m waiting for a moment of clarity to explain to him that this will not happen again, in his best interests, and that whatever he thought would be good would ultimately NOT.

And more than that, I think for now the relationship is intact. I could have done more, could have left the thumbscrews in longer, and things might have played out differently. Maybe not better, but I see scenarios that move to far darker places for me and him. So I hope this works together with everything else for his good according to my riches….. well, hopeful that God turns it into something educational for both of us as we continue growing up.