Focus Again and Again
Joan slammed the pots and pans that she was loading from the dishwasher into the cabinet. The clock did its unwelcome time reminder that she had once again stayed up too late. Sleep deprivation had just about eaten away her patience.
“Just why do I have to always be the time clock for him to wake up. ..And, what’s more, just why do I have to have his breakfast all completely done for him to wake up?” Her mind just kept on enlarging every fault her poor husband had, and her wasn’t even up to defend himself.
Finally, her view became so unfocused that when he came to the kitchen even a little earlier than usual (and before Joan had even completely gotten the meal ready) she blurted out as though issuing a challenge, “Just don’t say anything critical of me in any way right now. I’m tired and fussy and you better just beware!”
Poor Phillip just gave his wife a brief glance and was actually too sleepy to even pay much attention to her. He seemed to refuse to want “to do battle”—which infuriated Joan more. His morning actions were no different from usual. He picked up the paper from off the table that Joan had already retrieved from the driveway for him and sat in his chair at the table beginning to read.
“Just why don’t you ever thank me for all I ever do for you? “
He barely was aware of her question, but replied sleepily, “I thank you,--now it has happened and you can’t say, ‘ever.’ “
Joan took the quiet reply as his usual lawyer style of reasoning not too well. Phillip was a trained lawyer and debater and he was always semantically trying to get her to not use group labeling. For example, both knew that it was incorrect for her to say he ‘never ever’ helped her.
“I don’t see why you always feel you have to debate me.”
“But you asked me to thank you for all you do and I did.”
“Oh, Phillip, you will just never get it, will you? You coat everything in semantics and wiggle out of everything. I just want you to help me more. I’d like you to do it on an everyday basis.” And her focus on patience for her husband to see things her way was still quite myopic.
“But Joan, I think things are just fine the way they are…”
And she interrupted with, “Yea, so you can do nothing!”
Phillip quietly said nothing. He knew she wanted to at least appear right. She had to be very tired because she had stayed up late watching the Olympics.
“Why don’t we read our devotional thought for today—and just not discuss this right now? You’ve already told me that your patience is quite thin today and you are tired.”
Joan thought for a minute and deep in her heart she knew that her dear, yet unhelpful husband was really right. This wasn’t the time to bring up something that seemed to never change between them. “Oh, O.K., --what’s today’s date?”
He looked at his watch and replied, “August 24th—a Monday,”
The devotional’s title was “Patience.”
As Joan read on she was totally caught off guard by the point of the story. It was about a man who remembered his dad always focusing his camera—in and out as he needed. The point of the story was that our focus on the detail of our ‘little problems’ is really a selfish focus when we should be focusing out to God’s perspective.
The prayer particularly hit her hard. It was to change our focus outward to God and not inward to ourselves when we have problems.
“Ah, how I needed that!” She smiled at her husband with the knowledge that she could never have real patience, but that only God gives real patience and proper focus.
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