My World War II era parents were 40 years old in 1966, the year I was born. I am probably one of the youngest baby boomers. My parents enmeshed my childhood with stories of WWII life. So much so, I felt their memories were mine and I had actually lived through those harrowing years.
In 2008, this baby boomer was standing in the kitchen with my twin sons, then seniors in high school. I was asking them to put their clean laundry away. They gave me grief about the request. “We are too busy. Why can’t we just leave it in the basket?”
“Too busy? Your dad and I haven’t required much of you, letting you have as much time as possible to enjoy running amuck your last year of high school and have lots of time to study for your AP classes. The least you can do is step up to the laundry basket for me.”
Then, the Holy Spirit enlightened me with a Holy Epiphany, Batman….
|Ed, second from left.|
“You two are 18 years old! Your days consist of playing video games, driving a decent car with a tank full of gas, enjoying fresh food and plenty of it, doing a little homework, not in the least worried about being physically harmed. Your biggest concern is which movie you’ll go see this weekend. Do you know where your grandpa Ed was when he was 18 years old? He was in a diesel powered tin capsule under the sea in the South Pacific. He was working and dirty. There was no Air Conditioning. The food was not that great. There was constant danger, any day could be his last. He had already lost his brother to a kamikaze.”
|Ed served on the USS Toro.|
The Lord can soften hearts and place the exact right words in our mouths. I always marvel and am humbled when this happens. Whether the words come out of my mouth or are received from others’ mouths. The Lord is constantly proving that he cares about every aspect of His children’s lives with this kind of moment. Even though we may feel we are as irrelevant as lost dirty socks in the universe, no situation is too small for His concern.
The words struck home and there was an immediate recant of attitude. I could literally see their heads glow as the lightbulb went off. I could almost smell the scent of gratitude exuding from their pores for grandpa’s service.
Where’s the marriage correlation? It’s about perspective.
When your spouse requests something of you, are you too busy, don’t care, feel they don’t deserve your attention or that their request is unimportant?
Do you think, “I’m 33 and have 4 kids. I work my fingers to the bone and I’m unappreciated. I have no time for myself. I can never get caught up. I get absolutely no respect.”
I used the kids’ anecdote as a lead-in because of Veteran’s Day ….but truly, I’m g.u.i.l.t.y of self-absorbed, lack-of perspective. Mr. Muscle had to request three weeks in a row that I make lasagna before I remembered to buy the ingredients at the store. I need to remember that my husband’s work is not a Carnival Cruise even though it involves lots of travel. I need to remember to lavish zest and rest to his life, not try to get away with doing as little possible for him.
Even though I don’t know your particularly situation or marital relationship, there is always much to be grateful for. That attitude of gratitude and humility, makes it a whole lot easier to serve. If you sleep under the roof of a little shack, have a car that runs most of the time, own a set of clothes (including shoes), and you can afford a tank of gas and know where your next meal is coming from you are among richest in the universe. (You’ve probably heard that before, the reminder was for me.)
The ultimate key to perspective is this: Where was Jesus when he was 33? He was a servant, hanging on the cross for our sins. He shows us the greatest joy is in service, especially in service to those we love.
What can you do to add Zest and Rest to your spouse’s day?
Learn about my feisty WWII era parents in my past tribute: Feisty