Split-second Grace

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Sometimes it makes me sad to think I’m my husband’s ticket to heaven.


Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of leading Paul closer to Christ. But the image I prefer includes my overwhelmingly saintly nature — a nice, soothing picture of me inspiring Paul to love Jesus more due to all my personal virtue.


The reality, I’m afraid, is more like I’m helping Paul become a saint because I too-often help him grow in the Christian virtues of charity and patience.


The other night Paul had the perfect opportunity to be mean to me. We were back from a late basketball game (which he coached) and after we tucked into bed most of our sleepy children, my husband headed to the kitchen to get dinner while I dealt with one last child needing one more thing.


I sat on the couch quizzing the boy and watched from afar as Paul busied himself with warming up last night’s dinner. I was hungry and tired and the more I watched him move about the kitchen, the less patient I became.


“You know,” I finally called from the front room, “I would have warmed up your dinner, if it was me in the kitchen.”


The minute I said those words, I was embarrassed. My bratty behavior hung like a damp rag on a clothesline that extended from the couch to the microwave. My woeful phrase was uttered with all the detached flair of the World’s Greatest Martyr and it was pathetic.


I readied myself for the coming, much-deserved storm.


“I’m sorry,” was my husband’s sincere reply. “Would you like me to get you some?”


I was a bit caught off guard.


“Um, yeah,” I mustered. “That would be great, thanks.”


A few minutes later, Paul brought me a plate of steaming hot food and I feasted on humble pie as I finished quizzing my son.


Once that final child had been tucked in, I took a deep breath and wandered over to my husband.


“I’m really sorry I said that,” I told him.


“I can see where that would have been aggravating,” he answered. He then explained that he thought I had eaten at the game with our kids. Earlier, when I told him we were eating leftovers, he missed the part about me wanting to eat with him.


Crisis averted by his overabundance of patient love.


My husband, I should point out, is not a saint. I only say this so you don’t walk away thinking that I’m married to a robot. This is not an example of a love available only to those with supernatural powers. We can all choose this kind of reaction.


Paul likes to tell me a story about himself, about who he was as a boy. His mother (who died before we were married) always told Paul that when he was little, he had a terrible temper.


“Whenever I would fall off my bike,” Paul tells me, “my mom said I had a blood vessel that would pop out of my forehead, that’s how mad I got.”


So we are not dealing with the world’s most passive human.


What inspires me about my husband is his ability to see the big picture — it’s not that being patient and assuming the best has always come natural to him. It’s that he recognizes the things that are worth fighting about (almost nothing) and also that he is a very smart man.


Paul has learned how to diffuse a situation by side-stepping the drama.


My husband had every right to take me down a few notches that evening, when I was so quick to accuse him. I was wrong, but he never pointed that out. Through his kindness and generous spirit, an evening that could have ended with me ticked at him for being self-centered, and him ticked at me for being a jerk — it ended with us sharing a bowl of leftover spaghetti.


Moments of grace are beautiful, and in marriage those moments are an especially welcome gift.

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Comments

  1. Lady Caitie in the Pretty City says:

    Aw! Great story, great couple! I bet another thing that allowed your hubster to be so forgiving is that he knows that you're the kind of gal that would reflect on your own actions and be a little humble in your ability to admit you were wrong.. On the other hand, when we know we're dealing with someone who won't ever admit fault, pointing out their faults is much more.. tempting! LOL You guys rock!

  2. Beautiful witness of love for us to follow!! You know what is also heart wrenching and humbling? When the teenage boy diverts the argument lead on by mother's impatience and exhaustion by making a kind and forgiving remark instead. Grace is a good thing.

  3. Keri Sullivan Ninness says:

    Rachel- from a tired mama who has doled out all of NO grace this week and who feels like a jerk herself, this post hit right where I needed it. Thank you. Thank you, so much.

  4. I love this, it's such a real reflection of life. Thank you!

  5. Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) says:

    I liked this post – sometimes specifics are really helpful. This is the kind of thing that I'm working on. Oh to be less of a jerk and more of a gracious, patient saint!