When I woke up today, I opened the kitchen door so our dog could go out. The alarm went off! It hadn’t been on the last two nights so I assumed my eighteen year old son, Nolan, hadn’t set it. But he had. So- in my just woke up voice and before my first cup of coffee, I had to apologize to the alarm company when they called. Nolan insisted that it’s always on. I knew better and let it go. I poured a cup of coffee and sat at the computer. While checking my email and browsing my favorite social network, Nolan sarcastically said, “Look at what you do all day!” So I quietly laughed and said, “Just like you sleep all day!” trying to lighten the mood. “Huh-Huh good one,” he mumbled. Clearly he wasn’t in a good mood. And then the all meat diet for the dog came up. “Can I feed Tim this raw chicken?” He had the fridge opened and held it in the air to show me. “No meat for Tim, Nolan,” I said. “Why not?” “Because like I said before, when we give him raw meat, he vomits!” “That’s because you didn’t do it my way-cold turkey, just meat, not mixed with his old food. Here, let me give him a little.” Maybe the expectation of waking up and everything being peaceful with nothing rattling my nerves was stupid of me. But when the “badgering” continued, I decided to stop it.
I walked into my room, put my fleece and shoes on, picked up my books, and calmly announced I was taking Tim to the park. “Come on, Tim.” My husband got out of bed and opened the door to the garage. “I’ll move my car so you can get out, Honey.” Tim and I got into the car, I rolled down my window, “I need a break, Jason, I’ll be at the park for a while.” He moved to the side, I backed up and then… POW! I backed right into his car! I looked in my side mirror to discover his side mirror barley hanging on. And then him walking over to examine the damage- I wasn’t paying attention and smashed my car into his! Clearing my head went from optional to mandatory. “I’ll be back, Babe, I have to go!” I carefully pulled forward and then back again. I pulled out of the driveway, Jason was scratching his head with one hand, holding the mirror up with the other, and then I drove away.
“Be still, and know I’m God.” Psalm 46:10
The park was perfect. Birds chirping, slight breeze, Mountain View and a few children running around. Though I was feeling irritated at home, smashed Jason’s car, and a bit on the sensitive side, I had felt good about controlling my emotions and leaving the house without erupting, an ongoing prayer. Life felt harder, I was standing at multiple intersections.
Frustration of not knowing if Jason was going to take a new job that would relocate us, my oldest son turning eighteen, homeschooling him and our eight year old, my husband’s eighty four hour work week, finances, managing to keep up the house without losing myself, and even sweeping up dog hair twice a day had suddenly pulled me to a darker place. Staying home full time was a blessing, yet, plunging toilets while singing worship hymns wasn’t reality. But I was trying to keep a good attitude and not complain. To add repairing the car I backed into and teenage sarcasm, I wasn’t okay, in fact, I wanted to cry.
After an hour at the park, I felt more at peace and drove back home. Jason’s car was parked on the street. I pulled into the garage, Tim and I got out and walked into the house. Nolan was ironing his clothes in the kitchen and Nick stood nearby. “I’m sorry about your car, Babe,” I said quietly. “Is everything okay?” He asked. I nodded, went into our room, locked the door, took a shower and got ready for church. I was fine, set to go to church. And all set to have a good day.
Ready to leave, I walked into the kitchen. Jason asked, “Are you okay?” His question hit me wrong. “I’m fine, are you okay?” The sarcasm flew out of my mouth without warning. I should have been fine but my reaction warned I wasn’t. Nolan had left and our eight year old son was brushing his teeth. “Just so you know- the way you handled my question about the finances last night is an example of why I don’t share them with you.” I just knew this was a mistake, an obvious jab. Financial issues were only part of my frustration. My heart tried whispering, “Let it go, just go to church.” So I tried. After he didn’t answer me, we got into the car. “I’m sorry you’re upset, Honey.” “Please don’t be sorry for how I feel. Be sorry for how you handled it, Jason!” Like a wearing out tape recorder, I was almost finished. “I’m turning the car around and going home, you can go to church without me- I need to be alone!” I sobbed for ten minutes on the kitchen floor. Alone.
Hoping the sun would soothe me; I moved outdoors to my lounge chair and pondered. I wanted to apologize. But when Jason didn’t even acknowledge me for over twenty minutes after they had gotten home, that feeling quickly evaporated! My expectation of him kneeling beside my lounge chair, taking my hand, and asking me how we could resolve our conflict together seconds after walking through the door didn’t happen. Silence helped me cope until my unpredictable emotion settled. I needed my husband to empathize with me. But I was upset. I was upset that he didn’t know what I needed.
We didn’t talk for most of the day. While Jason spent the afternoon watching football and duck taping his mirror onto his car, I spent time writing in my journal, asking God to help me, and crying.
Later, he walked into the kitchen. I prayed my words would come out right. “Why didn’t you talk to me when you came home from church? That really hurt me.” His reply made me see how different we truly are. “You said you wanted to be alone. I thought you needed space.” He was right, I did say that. And space was good. But I just wanted to be alone for that moment, not the entire day! “I don’t want to burden you, you have enough to deal with,” he said. I grinned, “And I don’t want to burden you because you have enough to deal with.” We smiled. Ultimately, the two of us had been trying to protect the other by doing life alone instead of as one. “I’m sorry. I’ve been trying to control my emotions and today I failed. Good or bad, we need to communicate our feelings freely!” “Yes,” he agreed. We spent the next thirty minutes talking about what had been bogging us down. The honest dialogue between us was just what I needed!