As I glanced through the top 10 stories of the decade from Yahoo and read Time’s “Decade From Hell” issue (Dec 7, 2009) last month, I began to think a lot about what is good about the beginning of a new year. Above everything else, what I love is it’s a time to move on. To let things rest that didn’t need to be labored anyway. To forgive people. To choose the better way of living in each moment. To try something new. These are things I try to do in my life every day.
Some days make it harder than others. Today was one of those.
It started the same as most, but with extra adrenaline because we were to meet with a surgeon in the afternoon to discuss an MRI my daughter had on Friday. After 4 years of trying to help her Arrrrgh. I grumbled as I left the family room. Gary was holding Anna, our one-year-old, while his breakfast toasted in the oven. She motioned for the video game remote next to him, and beamed when he handed it to her. As I watched this interaction, I went from zero to mad instantly.
Gary just looked me square in the eye and said, “You know what I think? You are very resentful. You need to forgive people – me and maybe even the baby – for everything that’s making you angry.”
“Sure, it’s about me. Nice try, big guy,” I hissed.
With that, conveniently, the toaster oven chimed, Gary grabbed his waffles and went upstairs for his conference call, and I went to the sink to wash the high chair tray of the morning’s goop.
Scrub, scrub, scrub. Fume, fume, fume. I found myself doing something that gets me through many an angry moment – singing a song of caustic sarcasm to the tune of a Disney hit. I know, kind of weird, but it helps keep a lid on my often hot temper…
I also tossed out a prayer in my song: “I’m annoyed, I’m tired. This is lame. But I need your help right now, Lord. Please work on Gary… and me too, I guess. I know he’s right about forgiveness, but this is really more his problem!”
Twenty minutes later, I had calmed down. I went to get something in our room and saw Gary on his call. He put his hand over the phone and said gently, “Honey, can we talk when you have minute?” Then he smiled.
I melted. I hate how I do that! I’m supposed to be mad at him! I thought, as I somehow felt drawn to the man I despised a little while earlier.
We did it again! I realized. (Ok, I did it again). I fell into that trap the enemy sets for us every day: I actually thought my husband was my adversary. The Bible is so clear that he is not. It’s Satan who is roaming around like an angry lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet 5:8). If I am honest, I really felt like my heart was being devoured when I was so angry. It’s true that we needed to talk through some issues, but it was not true that Gary was my adversary in them. We just had a few problems to solve – together. And Gary was right, forgiveness was what I needed first, because forgiveness sets us free to see God’s hand in the situation instead of becoming a snack for the enemy.