Monday, July 24, 2017

I am SO selfish.

I think we all know that deep down we are selfish, ugly creatures who want everyone to be at our beck & call every minute of the day.  We try to cover that, but I think, at heart, deep down, we all just really want the world to revolve around us. I try my best and really make an effort to be joyful & patient & grateful in all things.  And while I often succeed, there is definitely a deficit in my life, usually connected to my family and especially when I am inconvenienced or made to run late.  How dare they!  How quickly my gratefulness goes right out the window when my husband or kids make me have to go out of my way to serve them, wait on them or they make me more than 10 seconds late to something. (Don't I sound like a delight to be around?)  This morning, God used my husband to remind me of my less-than-patient, self-focused nature.  Here's how our morning went.

Yesterday, Larry preached at a church in a neighboring town. We planned for me to hold off on grocery shopping for the week 'til after we cashed the paycheck from that. Last night, we discussed that the bank might or might not allow me to cash the check since it was written to him. Rather than risking them not letting me get the money, we decided that I'd follow him to the bank this morning and he could cash it and then hand off the cash to me & he'd head on to work.  (You need to know this info to follow the rest of the story.)

So at about 8:15, we left the house.  I was in my PJs in my van and Larry was dressed to the nines in his crisp, starched shirt & ironed pants.  He was just ahead of me on the drive, in his truck.  We didn't reach the end of our neighborhood before my low tire warning light came on.  I grabbed my cell phone from the console & called Larry to ask him to follow me to the gas station so we could put some air in my tires.  But he didn't answer.  Grrrr.  We got to the next stop sign and I honked at him & held up my phone and gestured to it, waving perhaps a little more urgently than was required.  I was frustrated that he didn't immediately answer my call!  I mean, isn't that why we have cell phones?  ANSWER IT when I call you, dude!  After my honk & point moment, I re-dialed his number and he picked it up.  I told him my light had come on and he had me drive around him so he could look at the tires & see which one looked low.  He noted that one seemed a tiny bit lower than the others & told me which gas station to drive to.  He followed behind me making sure I was safe, didn't have a blow out or anything like that.  As I drove, I thought how sweet it was, how gentlemanly to follow slowly behind me and make sure I was okay.

When we got to the gas station, he grabbed the (greasy) air hose & drug it around my van, adding air to the appropriate tire.  When that didn't turn off my warning light, he checked the other 3 tires & added a little air to all of them, just in case.  That still didn't shut off my light so we came to the conclusion that the (slight) drop in temperature overnight must've triggered it.  Sigh.  Technology.  My sweet husband now needed to wash his hands & wipe the sweat from his brow (good grief, the humidity!!) and he wanted to buy a drink before he could leave.  I told him I'd go ahead and leave and head to the bank & wait for him there, to which he nodded his approval.

When I pulled into my parking spot to wait for him, I pulled out my phone & turned on my data.  I tapped my Facebook app icon and opened a status update screen to type out a brag on my sweet husband.  I wanted my friends & family to know how kind and caring he was, willing to get dirty & wait on his wife, handling a menial task I could've done myself later in the day.  I wanted to point out how thankful I am to have him and how blessed I feel to be his wife.  His tender generous care for me had touched me and I wanted to pay him a public compliment.

In the middle of typing that, my phone rang.  Now, some of you may not know it but I'm more of a texter, so when my phone rings at all, I sort of dread it.  I'm an introvert in the worst way.  If I can come up with any reason at all to not answer & just let it go to voice mail I will.  LOL  I know, it's bad.  I realize that's why I have a phone--so people can reach me--but if I'm in the middle of typing a status on facebook, a phone call is just an irritation.  I mean, come on folks....don't cut into my facebook time by calling me.  (Insert heavy eye roll & major sarcasm here.)  But I sighed & answered the phone.

It was my dear, sweet, caring husband.  He stated that his "hey dummy light" had come on. (that's what we call the low-gas light on our cars)  He was going to have to stay at the gas station a few more minutes to gas up his truck.  I rolled my eyes, irritated that he'd let his gas tank get so low.  I tell him all the time to stop & get gas.  I tend to believe that once you hit the half-tank mark, you need to start looking for a station to fill up.  After all, that second half of the tank seems to disappear rapidly and I am fearful of being stranded somewhere without gas, so that's how I handle it.  A quarter-tank makes me borderline frantic.  MUST GET GAS NOW!!!  But he's sort of a daredevil and likes to see how low he can get before he HAS TO get gas.  So right then & there, I was frustrated that I'd have to wait on him longer because he hadn't followed my suggestions and gotten gas sooner. Ugh.  Men!

Then he told me that he realized when he'd switched his holster from one belt to another this morning, he'd left his badge on our dresser.  And he was going to need that today!  He asked if I could run back to the house and get it.  He would finish gassing up the truck, go cash the check & then meet me somewhere with the cash.  I lovingly (outwardly) agreed but inside I was mad.  I mean, this guy is the worst about forgetting things and I have driven hundreds and hundreds of miles over the years bringing him things he left at home. This was like the 5-millionth time I've done this for him.  I can't tell you how many phone calls & texts I've gotten to bring him stuff that he needed at work.  Or the million frantic shouts to come help him find this or that item because he's forgotten where he put it.  I mean, geez. Put it up in the same place every time and you won't have to hunt for your keys, phone, glasses, etc.  Sigh. And this was his BADGE he'd left at home. What on earth?  Why can't he remember such a big thing that is crucial for his job!!??  I mean, come on.  It's not like he left a pen at home.  He's a plain clothes detective.  Cops need their badges!!  Grrrrrr.

When I hung up with him, the status update screen for Facebook was still on the phone screen.  You know, the one where I was typing out a brag about how wonderful & sweet my husband is?  The same screen I'd pulled up 3 minutes before to compliment my husband was now the screen that was taunting me & reminding me of my deeply, profoundly selfish ways.  It reminded me how rapidly I can cycle from feeling blissful & happy & joyful to being ticked off, irritated and wanting to punch someone.

Ouch.  Conviction is like that.

I shut off the facebook app and made the 2-3 minute drive to my house, walked inside and grabbed the badge and started back to the van before Larry called to tell me he was already done and almost back to our house.  I don't even know how he finished that quickly, but he did.  And about 2 minutes later, we met on the parking lot of a nearby school for me to get the cash and give him his badge. I wished him well as he left for work.  (by the way, he was now late for work but never seemed to be upset that he was in that predicament because of me!)  Before he left, I made sure to tell him how much I love him, how God had used him as an instrument this morning to remind me to settle the heck down & stop being so darn selfish, how grateful I was for him--even if he is a forgetful goofball sometimes.

Thank you, Lord, for using my husband to remind me today how richly I am blessed, how much I need to work on my selfishness.  Show me a way to be a blessing to him in return today!

So I need to ask you this: 
Do you struggle with this too?  Do you have the utmost patience for everyone else in your life but you find yourself becoming very quickly aggravated by those closest to you?  Do you find yourself so self-focused that you miss blessings and kindnesses extended to you?  Can I suggest that we all stop today and really pay attention to our responses to our families and those we hold dear?  Can we reset our sights and consider others and be thankful?  This is a hard lesson for me to learn. Maybe it is for you, too?

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