Monday, August 31, 2015

Flashlights, Sandbags and Potting Soil (and marriage)

While you can talk about hypothetical situations, you don't really get to observe how someone will react until the event actually plays itself out.

Over the weekend, we lived through "Erika" - a hurricane turned into a tropical depression, turned into just a big rain storm.

Let me just say that Jason and I had very different ways of preparing for the storm.  And in the process, I realized that we both have a long way to go (me more than Jason perhaps), in allowing room for someone else's perspective on things.

The Flashlight:
Jason: "Honey, we need a flashlight."
Me: "We have a flashlight already..."
Jason: "But it's just a small one..."
Me: "We have lots of batteries for it... it would be sufficient..."
Jason: "I still think we need one. We need a big one.  It would be good to have regardless of the storm."
Me: "But, what do we really need it for?  We don't need it to see anything during the daytime.  Sunset isn't until 8pm, and besides, when it's dark, we go to sleep, so really, there's no need for a flashlight."

Somehow, I think living in S. Asia for 3 years (with very infrequent electricity) prepared me well for hurricanes.  And I do realize now there is no harm in having a reliable flashlight, but I've already built my pride up, so I'm not about to tear it down ;-)

The Sandbags:
Jason: "Honey, I got something to help us prepare for the storm...."
Elizabeth: "Uh oh, please tell me you didn't buy a flashlight..."
Jason :"Nope, this was free."
Elizabeth: (relaxing a little, but still uncertain): "What did you get?
Jason: "SANDBAGS!"
Elizabeth: (silence)
Jason: "For our back porch, to keep the water out.
Elizabeth: (silence and increased blinking as if that could somehow double check my hearing at the same time)
Turns out...the sandbags were at least somewhat helpful... :-)
Jason: "Yup, they were giving them out, lots of people were getting them..."
Elizabeth: Oh my heart.  Seriously?  We do not need sandbags....I can't believe...."

There was a bit more discussion as I tried to grasp what would compel my husband to get sandbags.  I definitely didn't agree with it, but also couldn't entirely disagree with it either.  I mean, the next 3 days were forecasted at 100% chance of rain with flood warnings and watches for our areas - and our ground was already soaked from previous rain.

So, yeah, a few sandbags probably couldn't hurt...but again, my dire need to be self-sufficient combined with my ever rising ego refused to entertain the idea that we might need sandbags.

Jason: "Honey, this is me taking care of our family and our home...so, I think it's good."
Me: (still silence for the most part)

The Potting Soil
Me: "Honey, I might go to the store and get some potting soil to replant these plants..."
Jason: "What?
Me: "Yeah, I need to re-plant those plants we were just given...my goal is to keep them alive."
Jason: "Do you really need it?"
Me: "Yeah, for the plants, when I re-plant them in bigger pots, I need more soil..."
Uh oh...Nala and Reagan...are on the wrong side of the sandbags :-)
Jason: (silence)
Me: "So, I was gonna go get some, did you want to come with me?"
Jason: "Why do we need potting soil for plants that are going to die anyway?"
Me: (frown and frustration) "Honey......come on......"
(after a few minutes)
Jason: "Well, sure I'll come - maybe we can stop and get some more sandbags."

---------------------
It's about priorities.
It's about listening.
It's about entering into someone else's world, even if just for a minute.

Marriage requires you to take on a new perspective.

It's a perspective that we should be taking on all the time -- the perspective of someone else.

The re-potted plants in the new potting soil :-)
Considering someone else's needs, wants, desires above our own.

We can do this in our lives as singles, but we must do this in our lives as married people.

I'll admit, I'm not very good at it.
I want what I want, and I want it when I want it.
And if your needs differ from mine or infringe upon my wants, then they are wrong and ridiculous, and how is it we could have possibly joined our lives together in holy matrimony given that we differ on these two seemingly life or death issues!?

Until......just a drop of reason trickles in.

We step back and a sunbeam (or sometimes a rain cloud) of reality gives us the perspective of the other person.

It huts a bit, but our fingers begin to loosen the death grip on our own agenda.

And it all of the sudden becomes about caring well for someone else.
Being there for them, in his or her own frustration, dilemma, joy, excitement, fear or anxiety.

We are able to enter their world, even if just for a minute.
We can listen.
We can make them the priority, not the flashlight, the sandbags, or the potting soil.

2 comments:

Halsted said...

What an important message. Your post did make me smile and remember the days when we lived on a river. My husband also brought home sandbags before a storm and I questioned his logic at that moment. When the storm hit, I was glad to have them to hold back the water - and I did admit it to him.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for your note Halsted! I'm very thankful for my husband's wisdom and leadership in our home! He is a gift from the Lord!

The Balance of All or Nothing

I thought that when I became a mother, my "hard-and-fast," "black-and-white," "all-or-nothing" personality wi...