I struggle at times with being selfish at home. A problem arises, and I take it straight to Morgan no matter how weary his own day may have been. I put my issues on the forefront of not only my mind, but his. It’s a mistake I’m constantly reminding myself not to make, but as quickly as I remember, another upset causes me to forget. Hot water is low, tell Morgan. Bugs found their way back into the house, tell Morgan. I’ve put too much on my plate, tell Morgan. And heaven forbid he do something I don’t like because if so, I’m definitely telling Morgan. Those are the quickest complaints of all.
I recently finished “Resolution for Women” by Priscilla Shirer (if you’re looking for an inspirational read, I urge you to get this book). In one of the last chapters, there was a short story that I cannot get out of my mind. It was a perfect example of how a wife can create peace in her home – a lesson we can all afford to be reminded of. So, I’d like to share.
He was a struggling salesman, rising early each morning to go from one proverbial closed door to another, attempting to sell a variety of products made by the company he worked for. The days were long and exhausting, and he often had little to show for his efforts – certainly not from lack of trying, just from lack of takers.
His young, redheaded wife had been only eighteen when they married. And as their family grew, she spent the better part of each day trying to figure out how to make their small living quarters an enjoyable, satisfactory space, given the difficulties of their financial strain. Yet the day came when the strain turned into the kind that can make a girl want to give up – when she went to flip a light switch, and no lights came on. Thinking it was only a mishap in the electrical system, she went to another light source. Again, nothing. Another, nothing. Throughout the house she flipped switches – nothing – confirming what she already knew but didn’t want to believe. Their electricity bill hadn’t been paid.
Worse yet, it couldn’t be.
So for the remainder of the day, she did the best she could to take care of her household responsibilities. Even as the lengthening shadows of late afternoon slowly shrouded the kitchen in dim light, she prepared a makeshift dinner, then set it out with care and dignity on their darkened dining room table. A flashlight search uncovered some half-used candles, which she lit to create an elaborate place setting. The scene was gorgeous.
When her husband arrived, tired and road weary, he found her and the children seated at the table, smiling and waiting to have dinner with him. They enjoyed their candlelit meal. Had good conversation together. The children especially loved the unique touch of candles at dinner. Thought it was fun. Their home was full of peace and serenity despite the circumstances – circumstances the children didn’t even know about.
Neither did her husband.
He went straight from the table and collapsed exhausted into bed, beside which she’d lit more candles. She never said a word. It wasn’t until the next day, when he arose to get ready for work, that he realized there were no lights. Putting some mental pieces together he realized what his wife had done – how she’d preserved his dignity, how she’d opted for peace and beauty rather than friction and discord in response to the inconvenience.
He walked past the bed one more time on his way out the door that morning, just long enough to brush the red wisps of hair from her cheek and whisper, “Thank you,” into her ear. Whether she heard or not, he didn’t know. But he was too grateful to let the opportunity pass him by. Grateful to be sharing a home – sharing a life – with a woman committed to being gracious, promoting peace, overlooking shortcomings, providing an environment in which her family could flourish, even when living in less than desirable circumstances.
And at their fiftieth wedding anniversary, adult children and grandchildren standing at their side, this was the moment he recounted when someone asked to share his favorite memory from their life together.
This is the picture of a woman living with grace.
This is who I want to be. I want to be a wife that promotes peace and love and grace. Our homes are holy ground, and we are charged with creating an atmosphere worthy of praise. It’s not always easy, but it can be done.
I hope that when Morgan heads home from a long day at the facility, he looks forward to walking in the door. I pray I can give that to him. I long to have the patience and the grace to do so. And I pray that the Lord constantly reminds me how.