Not again. The boys sat huddled on the long couch, eyes narrowed. A suitcase laid haphazardly on the stairwell. A blitz of harsh words and hearts blistered. The smiling faces of our two sons framed in gold on the far wall seemed to mock the conflict unfolding in our living room.
“Just say the word and I’m out of here!” My husband shouted.
“What happened to never say the D word?” I said between clenched teeth.
But if you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart, be careful or you will completely destroy each other.
“You know that’s not what I want.” I said.
A spontaneous shopping outing and day planner bursting at the seams with volunteering commitments depleted our checking account and my energy. Bankrupting my family of my time and attention. Again.
Lying in bed with my husband later that night, a chasm of mattress between us, I stared at the shadows playing on the ceiling of our room. Unhappiness lingering along with the stink of burned chicken. More apologies. More hugs and reassurances for our elementary-age kids, their eyes shrouded with disappointment. Again.
If you keep doing the same thing expecting different results…
How did we not hear that two pumpkins had been hurled into the back window of our station wagon? Or that their remains landed in the front of the car? Picking seeds and scraping guts out of the carpet and calling the police and insurance company not a welcome addition to the burgeoning family calendar.
My husband shrugged off my attempts to hold him and I rolled back to the opposite side of our California King. Fighting the sobs threatening to erupt couldn’t stop the renegade tears from splashing against the wooden frame.
In the stillness of midnight, I quietly slipped down the steep staircase and collapsed on that long couch. The day’s events replaying a circuit until fitful sleep and the nightmare found me. A cruel hand wrenched my hair and smashed my toddler forehead into the car window. Was that blood or pumpkin flesh?
I awoke as my husband descended the stairs slowly, watching me. Wary. Likely wondering what mood he’d find me in that day.
“Can I talk to you?” He said.
Bleary-eyed and weary, I nodded, grateful for the chance to be reconciled.
“I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’m taking you off our account. If you need money, let me know and we’ll get cash, okay?”
“For how long?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
I nodded and sank into him, loving the feel of his sturdy shoulders.
We kissed good-bye as he left for work, and I wandered into the kitchen. From the window over the sink, the rosy blush of dawn streaked like flames across rippling clouds framed in gold. My breath caught. The dirty dishes stacked neatly in the sink no longer overwhelming me.
Who had told me about that study in Colossians? I rushed to the library room, found my Bible, and flipped pages to the first Chapter.
…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…
Hmmm. Father. What did that even mean?
Light. That sounded good.
Rescued. I felt hope rising.
Darkness like a prison sentence. I wanted to be free.
The Son. Jesus. Yes, he could be a good friend. More than the acquaintance I’d stiff-armed him to be. I kneeled, bowed my head, and poured out my heart to him.
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privelege to carry everything to God in prayer.