I Was Shocked and Hurt on Christmas Morning

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DSC_0315I was shocked and disappointed…and that was a very good thing. At first I couldn’t believe my ears. I was wearing Ezra in a baby carrier (burdensome task, I know, but someone has to do it). We were in the midst of the Christmas morning magic and I was passing out the gifts under our tree. (That’s just always been my job on Christmas morning) For some odd Christmas-Eve- reason, I had been up till 4 a.m. that morning (Whew, I don’t know how Santa came when I was awake almost the entire night, but he did!) So there we were in the middle of ribbons and paper and gratitude and magic, when I suddenly felt very thirsty. So I looked over that little Santa hat hugged tight to my chest and said. “Hey Glenn, do you mind getting me a drink from the kitchen?”

And then it came from his lips…the line I will never forget: “You get it yourself. I don’t really want to miss this.” Just as calmly and matter-of-factly as you please, he said it. At first, I thought he was saying it with a hint of teasing, you know playful banter, but he didn’t move and his face was expressionless, his eyes glued on the gifts that the kids were admiring.

Then Hannah looked over at him, wide-eyed, and said “Really, Dad?” He just kept right on looking with interest at the boys’ gifts and admiring the books or socks or whatever he’d been given and nodded. “Yeah, she can get it this time.”

Hannah quickly rose out of the middle of that couch and said. “I’m getting it, Mom.” I cannot believe he just said that.”

I said, “No Hannah…I’m halfway there already.” I thought I really needed to go to the kitchen by that time to have a short cry and recompose myself…to try and salvage the morning. But I was confused, hurt and deeply disappointed. Maybe I said something offensive to him? Maybe his psyche was being affected by that chemo-type medication he was taking for that pre-cancerous spot on his ear? Maybe this was a dream and I was about to wake up? I tried to process this all the way to the kitchen sink. Maybe….”AHHHHH!!!!…there are beautiful dishes that are just like my mother’s best china in my dish drainer!!!” They heard me scream all the way to the living room.

And there they were… the beautiful dishes. The china was vintage. It was just exactly like the dishes from my childhood at 941 Lynn Dale Lane—the ones we only ate on when the preacher was there for supper during the gospel meeting…and maybe, once in a while, at Christmas time. My father had given them to my mother one Christmas when I was about two years old. That would have been back in the sixties. And the way he had given them to her was by placing them in her dish drainer and she found them in the exact way that I had found mine. (Many thanks to my sweet sister, Celine, for finding these in an antique store and contacting my sweet elf with possibly his best Christmas idea ever! Celine has the real set from my mother’s kitchen. But now, I have a set, too…and this priceless Christmas morning memory.)

But the best part of the story is that I was sad, shocked, disappointed and very disturbed. I know women whose husbands speak to them every day just like mine spoke to me and there is no surprise or shock when they do. I know women who are quite used to husbands who inconsiderately snap at them, who respond to their requests with contempt, and who fail the tenderness test every day of the week. In the lives of these women there is no shock, no amazement, because it is, in fact, nothing out of the ordinary when they are treated with disdain or, at the least, indifference. The children in these homes, sadly, grow up, never even seeing or understanding what a godly leader looks like.

But not at my house. Praise God that this relatively calm and benign behavior from my husband was shocking. I’m glad it was a moment of hurt and pain—a bolt from the blue. Because you can’t have a bolt from the blue unless you have…well, the wonderful blue! I’m grateful for that little moment of psychological excruciation. I’m grateful to the husband, but mostly, I’m grateful to the Lord, because I know it is the influence of Jesus, the Christ…His golden rule, His example of washing disciples’ feet, His kindness to the women he encountered, His inverted pyramid of greatness, and the Calvary kind of love that He has for His bride…that makes moments like the vintage dish moment shocking to me. I’m so thankful for my Lord, the ultimate loving Husband.

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