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The winter had been made even longer by the fact that we had no money and therefore could not buy our way out of the oppressive isolation that had settled over us. There were no shopping trips, no movies, no evenings out.
We had been married long enough for the new and the curiosity to wear off, but not long enough to be comfortable with each other or our vanished, unrealistic expectations.
Even the advent of spring hadnt been much help. Gray, overcast skies continued to depress, temperatures made promises that were never keptand still no money.
|I wasnt paying attention.|
Oh, could we? There was great expectation in her voice, but I wasnt paying attention.
Things went unexpectedly well at work, and by 11:30 I was finished. An unexpected sale had put some unexpected dollars in my pocket, and when my fishing buddy, Larry, called and told me that the perch were running in the Clinton River, my unexpected expectations ran totally out of control.
I didnt deliberately break my word to Judiin some ways that would have been more honorable.
I broke all speed records getting homelocked up all four wheels and skidded to a stop in a cloud of dust in the drivewayran into the house and yelled, Hi, Im home, as I yanked off my tie and unbuttoned my shirt, preparing to change into fishing clothes.
What are you doing?
It wasnt a challenge; it was a pleading question, but I didnt hear the pleading
Im going fishing with Larry; the perch are running in the Clinton River.
I hadnt seen her yet, but now she came into the bedroom. She had her hair all done up, and she was dressed in her only Sunday pregnant dress
Oh, she said. Hurt and disappointment were in the Oh
Could you fix me a thermos of tea and a couple of sandwiches?
Sure, she said. How long will you be gone? There was longing in the question, but I was totally occupied with my preparations.
Oh, probably till darkdepends on how good it is.
She was standing just inside the door as I rushed past, fishing rods in one hand, lunch in the other.
Have a good time, she said, and although it was sincere, there was pain in it; but the pain escaped meat least it escaped my consciousness.
Im sure I will, I said, You have a good time too.
Sure, she said.
I put the rods in the trunk and the lunch on the seat. I started the motor and started to back up, but something was nagging at me. I went over a list of the things I would need, but that wasnt it. I had the eerie feeling that I had forgotten something, that something was missing, so I got out and went back inside to look.
She was standing right where I had left herjust inside the dooreyes wide open and huge tears rolling down both cheeks. She wasnt shaking or sobbing; she was just standing therehands at her sides, eyes wide open, tears running downlooking at me.
Honey, whats wrong? I was so dumbso lost in my own world, my own happiness, feelings, and pleasuresmy own needs and wantsthat I didnt know anybody else had any.
|I was so dumb.|
I didnt know that I was supposed to have time for heror anybody else for that matterunless it served some selfish purpose. Again, I want you to see that I wasnt mean or vicious. I wasnt one to speak harshly or be abusive; I was simply and totally self-centeredso much so that
What does a man do with a crying wife? I went fishingnot with Larry, but with Judibut my heart wasnt in the fishing. I dont even remember if we caught anything. We sat on the riverbank, and we held hands and talkedbut not muchI wasnt ready. We ate the sandwiches and drank the tea, and once, she took my hand and placed it on her extended tummyFeel that? she said.
Wow! I said.
Thats your son kicking around in there.
It was the beginningno it actually wasntbeginnings are hard to pin down. It had begun long ago, somewhere in the dim recesses of my childhood. Perhaps it was the beginning of awarenessan awareness of other people, of what a marriage is supposed to be. I lay awake late that nightlong after I heard the slow, steady breathing that meant she was asleepwith all kinds of new thoughts buzzing around in my head. I didnt know it, but the winter of our discontent was overit was becoming the spring of promise, because
Read the following passage slowlyvery slowlyand with care
The winter of our discontent had been created by my selfishnessby my refusal to put my egocentric childhood behind me and grow into the man that God intended me to be so that I could begin to learn the meaning of love. The first duty of a husband or wife is to grow upto put childhood aside
© 1997, John William Smith. Excerpted from Hugs to Encourage and Inspire, Howard Publishing Company. Used by permission.
HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover
Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-98, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.