So this morning my husband did something that makes me so irritated. I can’t even tell you how quickly the blood pressure rises when this happens. I feel it coming, that monster of emotional irrationality that overtakes normally sweet women and turns us into impossible beasts. I really hate to even admit how ridiculous this thing is, but once again, apparently this blog is not about my ego. God is consistent like that.
So what is this horrible, disgusting behavior that I cannot tolerate in my normally much-beloved husband? It’s the clean laundry hunt. I have a feeling that at least some of you have experienced this, although you may have a normal, rational response to it. Unless you are perfect goddesses of domesticity and never have any dirty laundry in the house. In that case, I really do not want to hear from you. But, if like me, you do laundry every, single day and still have dirty laundry in hampers, and clean laundry waiting to be folded in baskets, and a pile of wrinkled laundry awaiting your ironing leisure, then you, my friend, you will know the hunt. He has a closet full of clothes. I have washed, dried, and folded clothes. But he wants something that is not in his closet. So he heads out to the laundry room to hunt for whatever he wants to wear making me feel like the most inept, pathetic, excuse for a homemaker that ever walked the planet. What? That doesn’t make sense?! Oh, wait…it does.
Follow the process with me. His clothes should have been perfect in his closet. He should have toweled off in his spotless paradise of a bathroom that smelled like fresh rainfall and preferably sounded like the ocean. He should have glanced at his freshly shaven face in his shiny mirror, opened his perfectly organized drawer for his brand new toothbrush and toothpaste and after brushing his teeth he should have walked in his closet that made The Container Store look cluttered and, behold, every shirt hanging perfectly color coordinated and ironed with shorts and pants also in perfect order. A beautiful sight. Can’t you picture it? I can. And my husband should. But instead he had quite a different experience with a plastic toy cow staring at him in sympathy from the counter that ended with him thinking, “Where are my brown shorts? I’ll go look for them.”
Now, that you understand the full extent of my ridiculousness, you will see that it makes perfect sense that because I have not achieved my goals of housewifely amazingness, I should be irritated…with him. NOT! He didn’t ask me to fetch his shorts, didn’t accuse me of not having them in his closet, or in any way reproach me about needing more clean clothes because he never does. So why would my irritation turn toward him instead of myself? Because, I would venture to say, that a massive portion of our frustration within our homes and even in other areas of our lives, is actually realizing that we cannot live up to the expectations we have placed on ourselves and also on others. Because that next shot that can so quickly spout out of my mouth and begin our day in the most unloving and unChristlike manner is really not the result of my having been wronged, but of my heart not allowing myself grace. Grace that my family and friends are happy to show me but I can be unwilling to show myself. Grace that my Heavenly Father pours forth so how can I be so prideful as to withhold it when He in His absolute perfection is willing to give it?
And because this battle is a familiar one, it was quickly squelched with my mental “I will make that laundry a priority today, and my sweet husband has done nothing wrong by getting some clean shorts. So grateful for him.” And the monster was vanquished for the moment, grace was chosen, and I was off to the next battle. Maybe the battle where a child is sharply reprimanded because I don’t feel in control of the situation, or where someone asks about lunch and they get their words force fed into their face by my attitude because I feel bad that I don’t have it ready on time. Oh, self. When will you ever learn? Oh, Father. Keep pouring out that grace.
See our little hearts are tricky, little tyrants. They would like for us to believe that this is all about others. “I just want things to be right for my family.” “I just want to do a good job serving my husband or kids.” “I just want to be an example of a godly homemaker.” Ha! Who wants to take odds that my husband and children would far rather I let down the standard for a few minutes, didn’t bite their heads off about shorts or lunch, and simply chose to see the grace offered me as I do the best I have with the resources I have at any given moment. And if I truly do have something to regret, if my time was spent differently than it should have been, then that is a conversation to take up with myself and in my honest evaluations of my choices. It is not that I can’t do it but that I chose something else. Something I considered more important for that time. And I can walk confidently in that or I can change it. But I can’t choose to punish others for it.
So I will take my small self with my terribly laughable struggles like laundry hunts to bed knowing that tomorrow I will wake up to a grace that is there every morning, an opportunity to put aside my expectations and live in decisiveness and honesty about my priorities. But before I go to bed, I think I will check the closet to make sure there are some clean shorts.