So I have a little anecdote/story to share with you from this weekend. It’s pretty personal – and it shows a little of the good-bad-ugly side of myself, so be gracious with me! I hope it does a couple of things – shows you that I’m still learning, just like everybody else; and reminds you to grow a little in graciousness.
GRACIOUS: pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous.
I was on my way home from dropping off a friend in the city. We were headed out of town for the weekend to Koblenz, Germany (lovely town, if you ever get the chance to visit). Our purpose was to drop off a friend and crash her parents 25th anniversary party. Good plans, yes? It is about a 3 hour drive from where we live, and I was running a tad bit late for us to get going. I had stopped for gas, and prayed that my family would be gracious with me for the fact we were running late to get on the road.
When I got home, ‘nothing’ was done except a bag of clothes packed for my son. I have to admit, I did not act very gracious with them as I began to bark orders and angrily make a quick breakfast (earlier that morning, I had asked my husband to pack a bag for Zeke, make breakfast, take the trash out, and do what he could to help us get out the door when I got back…he heard the first thing at least…I guess). I was sort of ‘over it’ by the time we were halfway to the military base to fill up our gas card funds. We were conversing like normal people and had worked out the fastest way to get back on the road. The hubby ran on the military base (with one simple request from me to please get donuts at the gas station too) while the kids and friend and I waited at the park across the street.
My friend and I even had a good conversation about what these kinds of ‘disappointing situations’ are supposed to teach us. She had her own somewhat similar situation going on with her photographer friend who got the date mixed up for the anniversary party. We talked about how we expect people to be gracious with us, but fail to extend the same graciousness for their failures and forgetfulness. Hm. Then we prayed, and the car pulled in right then to pick us up and get back on the road. I got in, and looked at the box of donuts: they were the wrong kind. They were not the kind of donuts I like at all.
And so began again my frustrations with my husband. Poor guy – those donuts just made me think of how much ‘he didn’t think about me’ (even though I was completely overlooking the fact that he had waited on me to get home, he had packed our son’s clothes, he was trying his best: and he did buy the donuts! No, for me, it wasn’t enough and I was mad. Didn’t he know I only liked the plain hole-in-the-middle glazed donuts? None of this custard-filled chocolate icing crap! I wouldn’t eat one and I wouldn’t speak to him. (yes, folks, this is the point where you can shake your head and say, good grief! this girl is ridiculous!)
A couple of minutes later, my friend let me know that our prayers were answered – her friend was still coming that evening! Again, I have a confession – although I was happy for her, I also thought to myself: good for you, I still have chocolate glazed custard-filled donuts. Man, sometimes my attitude can be so stinky! But after a while, my husband and I finally talked a little about it: my crazy high expectations, and needing to come back to earth a little. I did not marry a perfect man, and that’s okay! Look at his situation! He’s stuck with an impossible-to-please woman! And you know how things got fixed? We laughed about it. We accepted each other as we are. Now, do I hope and pray that we improve? Of course! But it’s not up to me to fix him – or the other way around!
That night, after all the fun, the surprise to our friend’s parents, a walk around some castle ruins, the BBQ and great food and fun (and photos – maybe I’ll get one later to add to this post), oh! oh! And side note – they have a friend who is Italian, so she and I got to chiachiarare (chit-chat) a bunch, which is always a highlight for me 🙂 But anyway, I was saying, after all that, and we had one kid asleep, the other sitting with the big kids playing games, my husband and I were having such a lovely evening. We were part of the group and fun, yes, but we were really just enjoying each other’s company and conversation so much – and all our laughs and silliness we share. Such as this:
There are 80’s hits coming from the stereo on the lovely back patio of this couple celebrating 25 years of marriage. My husband (of 14 years now) asks me the name of the band. I have no clue, I don’t remember stuff like that. He names both the band and song name, and could probably tell you the lead singer and album name as well. And I ask him – ‘How do you know and remember all that?’
“I know everything.”
“What kind of donuts do I like!” I demand.
He grins: “Chocolate covered custard filled glazed donuts.”
“Ooh, I’m gonna get you!” I poke him, we laugh, and we joke about it the rest of the night.