It’s been a strange week-end. Janet has been feeling pretty good and I have been doing quite a bit of stuff this past week that has resulted in a ton of laundry; Janet has been kind enough to help me out and has kept the washing machine going. Truth be known, I don’t think I have run 5 loads of laundry in our entire married life. Sometimes, when she is like this, she gets kind of amped up and suddenly everything in the house is clean – and I mean everything. Nothing in the laundry basket. Well, it finally led to a problem.
You see, Janet got a little over-zealous and for the first time in the 39 years we have been married, she put my wallet through the washing machine. I don’t mean she just happened to drop it in the water – I mean it went through the whole cycle – soap and everything. Now I am trying to take a little of the blame for this, but I’m not quite there yet. Because, you see, couples always develop a little bit of shorthand in the way they speak and act toward one another, and that’s what did us in this time.
In my counseling work with couples, I see it all the time. Because we all have little habits and idiosyncrasies that are well known to us, and to our spouses. If you have been married to each other for any length of time, you can pretty much anticipate each other’s moves. And that is how it is with us. Except that sometimes there are mis-communications and that is when confusion sets in. In this particular case, Janet knows that I empty my pants pockets each evening before I go to bed. My wallet, cash, handkerchief and business cards are put on the dresser next to my watch. I have had this ritual for years; and she knows it.
Well, we had the neighbors over for bridge on Saturday evening and after they left, I was getting ready for my trip this week. To cut to the chase, I worked until after 1:30 am and before I went to bed, I put my slacks over the door, without removing my wallet and other items. And you guessed it, Sunday morning Janet decided that they needed to be washed, so into the washer they went. Since I was doing prep work for my class on Sunday morning, I didn’t even notice until I was getting dressed and Janet walked into the bathroom with my soggy, dripping wallet in her hand.
Of course she apologized, but I was pretty annoyed. But for a different reason than you might think. Yes, it was a pain to pull everything out and dry it off, but I was very concerned about one particular item. Because in all the years that we have been together, I have carried a picture of Janet that was taken when she was 20, the summer we were engaged. There were several good pictures of us that year, but this one is my favorite. And it’s been in my wallet for 40 years now.
I know that most people carry photos of their children, or their pets, or recent images that have been taken. But that’s not how I roll. This one photo has been the one that has accompanied me on every trip and every daily journey I have taken since the day it was developed. For sure, it is getting a little tattered around the edges. The top layer is coming loose, but in all honesty, it is my favorite picture of Janet – bar none. Several years ago, I had it scanned and tried to get copies made as I am worried that the thing may disintegrate. But nothing came out as good as the original. So I live with the dilemma – carrying the photo and making sure that it is safe in my wallet. I guess that if push comes to shove, I could use one of the others, but I feel that a part of me would die – as dumb as that sounds….
So the last thing that poor photo needed was a trip through the washing machine. Of course, the plastic credit cards came through okay, as did my new driver’s license that I received last week. My ministry access cards and lunch coupon cards were soaking but okay. I dabbed off Janet’s photo and laid it out to dry. It must have been next to something with ink on it, because now there are light blue streaks that are apparently permanently etched on the image. Nothing I can do about it – but the picture survived. Kevin, a friend of mine, has a laminator and maybe that should be the next thing I try. I am a little hesitant to do that though – only one shot to get it right….
Anyway, I was in a bad mood all day. Then, one of the grandchildren left gum in my car and it stuck to the seat – the week after I spent $200 getting the car detailed. They all know that I HATE GUM!!! Suffice it to say that it was a tough day all around. Today, things are better. And I realize that I always get a little edgy the day before I travel when I am trying to remember everything I need to take. The good news is that I saw Jill tonight and will work with her team all day tomorrow.
The verse for tonight reflects God’s desire to us to look to Him. In Pro. 3:5, we are told, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” In other words, chill out….. That’s what I need to do.
So my encouragement tonight is to focus on the big stuff and not sweat the little things. After all, it’s just stuff and that has very little consequence when you think of it in terms of eternity. In terms of Janet, I remember the day I took the picture – hopefully, God willing, I’ll always have that memory – even if the picture finally disintegrates. My prayer is that you will lean on the Father and he will handle the stuff that is important. Sometimes, we, as humans, are just too close to the situation to be able to be reasonable and rational. By the way, I’m okay now about the picture – I guess I just had to talk it out with you, but I’m still working on getting past the gum 😉 Have a great day in the Lord – grace and peace…