God bless the dog for throwing up the morning before Jeff left for Haiti. When we moved the kennel to clean up the mess, we discovered the washer was leaking. It didn’t manage the cross country move very well. A little investigation revealed more problems with our aging appliance. It’s a good thing the dog threw up. Sometimes unexpected messes create moments of truth in marriage.
Time was short between work schedules and packing. In the end, we decided Jeff would head to Haiti and I would ration clothes or head to the laundromat until his return. He was no sooner back in town than I headed West for a three day conference. After a day of meetings, I was sitting over dinner with co-workers when I received the text: “I’m going washing machine shopping.”
I caught my breath. “How fast could I get home?” Could my husband of 25+ years buy a washing machine without me? Isn’t the washer “my territory?” I read the text to my friend, and her worried expression verified my spin cycle of emotions. A woman likes to buy her own washing machine! He would prioritize its potential for washing hiking clothes and hunting gear. Jeff’s solo choice could stretch our seasoned relationship like bike grease on a white blouse.
I like “Maytag.” Jeff assured me he had done the research, asked questions, and weighed the options. Honestly, I had done none of that and didn’t have time to catch up. Worse yet, the LDOU (Last Day Of Underwear) was approaching! I needed to trust the choice of my mate. I needed to let go of my Maytag expectations and my right to choose.
Delivery came during Jeff’s lunch break on the LDOU, while I was at work. I had the afternoon and drive home to contemplate my choice. Would I be thankful for what awaited? Would I analyze options and be sort of content? Would I weigh in on whether I would’ve made the same selection? Would our new washer be better than the broken one? Wasn’t a husband providing a new appliance for his wife something to be grateful for? Is it more important to get my way or give my blessing?
Since every good gift is ultimately from God, I ultimately respond to Him, (James 1:17). When someone gives us a gift, we can say, “Thank you for this gift from You, Lord, through the heart and hands of my husband/friend. Because You have chosen it for me, I am grateful and content.” In a moment of truth, a wife has the power to crush her husband’s heart. A spirit of disappointed receiving crushes the heart of a giver.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-19) Call it ungratefulness, rejection, or discontentment, but a lack of thanks stifles the Spirit of God in our souls. Maybe a cold covering of disappointed receiving also stifles the spirit of the giver.
We always have a choice in how we respond to a gift. It may be an appliance, a day of work, a kiss on the cheek, a financial decision, a pot of strong coffee, a piece of dark toast, a weak foot rub, a Valentine’s present, or weekend plans. Our own expectations may set the bar too high for contentment and gratitude to overflow. If we are served or blessed by one we love, we can crush them with analysis, opinions, and rejection, or we can bless them with gratitude and appreciation and satisfaction.
We have a choice in how we respond to a gift, starting with letting go.
It’s a great new washer. I don’t know what the other options were; I didn’t check. I love my washer, because it came from God’s hand through the heart of my husband. I’m grateful. And the dog doesn’t need to throw up anymore.