What was I rushing home to?
A few months ago, I was planning to hang out with some friends. I hadn’t gotten to spend a ton of time with them recently, so I was really looking forward to this! I had to be home at a certain time so my wife and I could get to another commitment we had later in the evening, but I wasn’t too concerned.
Some of my friends had been casually mentioning how it seemed like I was always at my wife’s beck and call. This certainly wasn’t true, as we both share equally in our decision-making, but I was feeling a little sensitive about being perceived as “henpecked.” I had decided that I would go to my friend’s house, and if I wasn’t home exactly on time, she could just deal with it.
Well, that’s a pretty good recipe for a tricky evening. I’m a little shocked by my thought-process now, as I think about it now. At the time, though, it made sense—or seemed to. Why wouldn’t it be a good idea to stick up for myself now and then?
I was at my friend’s house, and we were having a great time. After seeing me take a quick glance at my watch, though, my friend asked if I needed to go. Imagining that I’m seeing a smirk on his face, I say, “No, man! I’ll be home when I’m home.”
Five minutes later my phone rings. I see that it’s my wife. After a short, terse conversation, I turn to my friends, embarrassed, “I’m sorry, but I need to go right now.”
My friend apologizes for making me late, but I know it’s not his fault. I was the one trying to prove something. Dashing to the car, I start to race home. But in a moment of stillness, while I’m waiting at a stop light, the thought comes: “Slow down. What are you rushing home to?”
Uhh . . . my angry wife? Every minute that passes I’m heading to an angrier wife, too.
Again: “What are you rushing home to? Are you rushing home to an angry wife—to an ungodlike idea of God?”
Oh. I realized this was an important thought to listen to. As the light turned green, and I started on my way again, I drove at a safe, reasonable pace. I didn’t try to answer the thoughts as they came; I just listened to what I realized were angel messages specifically for me.
I wasn’t, in fact, going home to an ungodlike reflection of God. And, trickier to understand, but also vitally important: I wasn’t an ungodlike idea of God headed home to a poor, suffering wife. Each of us is nothing more and nothing less than the full radiance of divine Love, God. Always.
Then the real kicker came. “Forgive her.” Excuse me?! First of all, I was the one who had behaved badly and who probably most needed forgiving, and . . . and hey, why should she get to make me feel bad? Whoops! I almost got started on that whole train of feeling hard-done-by again. But then I stopped myself (at a yield sign, appropriately) and settled back into listening to God’s messages.
Forgiveness, I realized during the rest of the drive home, isn’t about speeches, deserving, or being holier than thou. Forgiveness is about realizing that I am not owed anything by anybody. Forgiveness, here, meant that my wife doesn’t owe me anything to boost my sense of self-worth. She doesn’t owe me peace. She doesn’t even owe me love.
Everything that I have—including my sense of myself as a confident, capable, loving man—is given by my Father-Mother God and can never be taken from me. If I could forgive my wife for being upset with me (and doing that made me feel very strange, because I’d always thought that the other person needed to know they were being forgiven, and they needed to have done a worse thing to you than you did to them), then I could go home peacefully knowing the presence of divine Love.
It was incredible. When I walked in the door, I was greeted with a warm smile, pleasant conversation over dinner, and peaceful coordination for getting to our next commitment. It did feel right to make an apology, which was accepted gracefully, and that was that. There was no need either to try and control how things turned out or to grovel and hope that my wife would forgive my disregard for our evening.
That evening, I learned that I can respond to God and to the work of good. If I’m doing that, what else could fill my day—and the days of those around me?Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 8:00 am | Follow responses with the RSS feed
Topics: Marriage, Peer Pressure | Tags: anger, bossy, henpecked