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Pj’s and Ashes

Todd snores when he sleeps sometimes…and talks…and beeps (don’t even ask me what that’s about)…and hums (entire bars of his favorite songs, and those who know him know that there are many).  Well, last night, he did it all!  His hip was hurting, which is understandable considering the fact that he is prepping for a half-marathon, and so he was restless.  I get that.  What I don’t get is why he didn’t get up and go to Hunter’s empty bed.  That’s supposed to be the plan.  My back goes all weird when I sleep somewhere else, and his doesn’t.

Sometimes, of a morning, when I tell him I didn’t sleep well because he was busy humming Journey’s “Open Arms” or some Rush song, he gets all sweet and says something like “Aw, Sweetie, why didn’t you wake me up?  I would’ve moved,” and that makes it better somehow.

“That’s okay,” I say, all noble and selfless.  “You must’ve been sore from your run, you big, strong, awesome man (or something close to that).”  Then we hug and snuggle, and the rest of our morning is sweetness and sugar and stolen kisses when Hope’s not looking.

This morning, however, was different.  Last night, I decided to do what Todd always tells me I should do, wake him up so he can go to Hunter’s empty bed.  I have deadlines this week and need sleep desperately in order to meet them, and, like I said, he was a one-man band last night. I tossed violently, coughed, and got up to check the thermostat.  No response, so I pulled on the covers.  All that did was bring on the second verse to something.  Finally, I just poked him…hard.  It took several of these pokes to rouse him, but I was determined.

Finally he woke up.  “Baby, are you okay?” he croaked, reaching for me in the dark.

I didn’t take his hand.

In great detail and with dramatic flair, I told him that I couldn’t sleep and why.  I waited for his humble, groggy departure, my sweet, sing-song “thank you” all ready.

“I’m sorry,” he said with sleepy sincerity and rolled over to hum a few more bars.

My mouth hung open for a few seconds before I huffed to myself and jerked most of the covers to my side.  I wish I could say that I got over it, tuned him out, and went to sleep or got up and went to Hunter’s bed myself, but I didn’t.  I fumed for a long time before I finally fell asleep and woke up this morning with a chip on my shoulder.

The alarm went off at 5:30.  “I’m sorry I kept you up last night,” Todd said in his normally irresistible morning voice.

So he did know!

“Yeah, me too,” was my terse reply.

Needless to say, our morning was not all sweetness and sugar and stolen kisses.  I wasn’t mean. I wasn’t critical.  I wasn’t huffy or cold or sarcastic or anything.  I just wasn’t very nice.  I wasn’t very gracious.  I knew what he needed from me, and I didn’t give it.  Now, I’m kicking myself.  Todd has a meeting tonight, so I won’t see him until bedtime.

It will be roughly thirteen hours before I get a chance to make up for my selfish attitude this morning, and so I’m paralyzed.  The Enemy has me.  In failing to put my husband before myself, suck it up, and act like a grown up, I’ve given the Devil a stick to beat me over the head with.  No doubt he’ll use it to poke my heart, too…all day long.

You see, somehow, I’ve let him convince me that forgiveness, grace, and mercy are things that other people deserve, not me.  All day long, I hand them out, to my family, to my friends, to the guy who refuses to put his horse of a dog on a leash even though there are little kids at the park, to the lady who doesn’t seem to understand that our neighborhood streets are three cars wide and makes me late to pick up Hope sometimes….to Obama.

But I don’t cut myself any slack.  Ever.

Fear of failure and regret drive me.  On that note, you’ll be glad to know that I did come around a little just before Todd left.  I hugged him, kissed him, and told him to have a great day.  When I’m finished spilling my guts out here, I’ll pray for him, too.  After all, you never know when will be the last time you see someone or get the chance to say “I love you,” and I know there are a lot of people out there who would give anything for one more day with their spouse, snoring, beeping, humming, and all, and here I have mine and have now wasted an entire morning with him….  See?  See what I do to myself?

Why can’t I just chalk it up to a cruddy morning, forgive myself, and move on to whatever God has for me in the next hour, the next moment?  Todd’s already forgiven me, I’m sure, because he is just like that, yet, here I sit in pj’s and ashes, doing penance for sin Jesus has already paid for.

In His tender, paternal way, the Lord brings a familiar verse to my mind…

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

Here’s what I took away from it.

First, in the big scheme of things, this morning wasn’t that big a deal.  Yes, my behavior smacked of human nature and a heart yet to be perfected, but all sin is forgivable (1 John 1:9).  Thanks to Jesus, it has no power over me.  I’m free!

Second, my mistakes aren’t going to keep God from doing what He intends to do (Ephesians 1:11). God is so much bigger than my words, my actions, my thoughts, and my attitudes, and it’s foolish for me to think that any amount of huffing and puffing on my part could ever blow His House down!

Oh, friends, there is such freedom and joy in loving and serving the Lord our God!

What do you say? Let’s you and me pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off,  and make a conscious effort today to look beyond the seen and temporary to the unseen and eternal.  Let’s shake the shackles of guilt and regret and run full speed into what the Father has for us in the next hour, the next moment.  He is so very good!

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