Earlier this week, during a phone conversation with my soul sister Jaime, I giddily recounted several falling in love with The Professor stories. The backdrop for the tales was painted more than nine years ago. Colors representing excitement, adventure, love, passion, yearning, searching, and expectation splattered the canvass of our love story adding texture to the abstract illustration.
While enrolled in premarital counseling class a pastor shared a story about a young couple struck by tragedy only weeks after their “I do’s” were spoken. A car accident rendered the husband paralyzed from waist to toe. The resolve of the young wife to honor and love the man she married never wavered. She nurtured him without complaint and worked both inside and outside their home. The pastor smiled as he announced that the couple would soon be celebrating 35 years of marriage and that the husband tirelessly bestowed praise on the wife of his youth who was a living example of platinum strength agape love. After hearing that touching tribute I thought “I will be that wife.”
Tears swamped my jaded eyes only 12 hours after Jaime and I talked. My tears were not watery symbols of anger or displeasure with The Professor. Instead they were tears of self disappointment and failure. Three weeks ago the professor underwent extensive back surgery. The healing process crawls forward at a leisurely pace and although physical nerves are repaired emotional ones are, at best, frayed. I’m not that wife.
My exhaustion gets the best of me and ignoring James 5:9 I sometimes grumble. Sometimes I search for accolades. Sometimes I pout. And to make it worse my grumbling, pouting, and self-praise digging are not kept private. I flaunt them in front of The Professor, because I’m not that wife.
I’ve been a resident in my own “Perfectionists Anonymous” rehab center long enough to know that this thought process can be the first falling domino in a long line of self destructive behavior. Lamenting that I am not that wife, who by the way happens to be a women whom I have never met, hinders me from being the wife that God intends me to be to my husband.
I’m blessed that a forgiving heart beats in the chest of my Professor because I’m not perfect. Nor will I be. I’m the wife who makes mistakes that surpass burning toast and losing car keys. I’m the wife who gets angry, tired, and lonely.
I am also the wife who learns, albeit slowly, from her mistakes. I am the wife with a repentant heart. A heart that yearns to love as Christ loves and to forgive as Christ forgave. I am the wife who knows that her marriage is worth fighting for even if it means pummeling her own selfishness. I am the wife who is humbled so that her Father can be glorified. I am the wife who keeps trying, the wife who is driven to her knees beseeching assistance from the Perfect One. I am the wife who knows that only Christ can give her that platinum strength agape love she desires to give to the man who taught her that love is a choice.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14, NIV.