Just a heads up – these words are part marriage blog post, part public apology.
Gayla and I have our Wednesday evening tag-team parenting routine mastered. She takes four year old Sarah with her to the middle school to pick up Caleb. I leave the church, and we all meet in the employee parking area around the corner from “Heavenly Oils and Vinegars” where Gayla works part-time (and by the way, if you need some good oil or vinegar, she can hook you up). I get out of my car, leave it for her to drive home at the end of the evening, and hop in the van to drive the kids home. She hops out of the van and walks around the corner to the store. It works without a hitch every Wednesday.
There was a hitch today.
I was sitting in my usual parking spot, waiting for the crew to arrive so we could make the tag. I was watching lots of big raindrops hit the windshield, shivering a bit from the low-40s temperature, and pondering the profound things I was going to write in my “Love Is Kind” marriage blog post when I got home. My cell phone rang. It was Gayla. She said, “I’m about to pass the store, and I’d like to park close so I don’t get soaked walking to work. Can you meet me close to the store?”
My brain immediately thought about how cold and wet I would get walking around the corner to meet her. So my mouth immediately went, “Uh…. ummm….” Gayla said, “Never mind, it’s too late, I’ve passed the spot, I’ll meet you around the corner.” I have no doubt that if I had had 2 more seconds to process things, I would have said, “Sure, I’ll be right there.” I really don’t think I’m that big of a jerk. But my first reaction, my default setting, was to think of my own comfort. And by the time I mentally made the shift from “what’s best for Blake” to “what’s best for Gayla,” the damage was done and it was too late to do the loving thing. So we made the tag in the usual spot, and I drove off with the kids, watching in shame as Gayla got soaked in cold rain walking to the store.
Now I sit at home, nice and dry, writing about the marriage application of the teaching in 1 Corinthians 13 that “love is kind.”
I’m obviously just the authority you need to educate you on this topic today.
I want to love Gayla with a 1 Corinthians 13 type of love – a love that is kind. A love that would jump at the chance to be the one that gets wet so she can stay dry. A love that seeks out opportunities to do nice things for her. A love that gets excited about taking care of what she needs, what she wants, and what she likes.
Kindness is an active thing. It shows up in what we actually do. We don’t just feel affection for our spouse – if we are kind, then that affection shows up in big and small acts done for their good. We don’t just say we love them – we actually show that we love them by doing kind things for them.
Gayla does kind things for me all the time. For example, another part of our Wednesday tag team routine is that, before she leaves for work, she prepares supper in the crock pot for the kids and me. I’ve never asked her to do that – she just does it to be kind. She knows that having the meal prepared will make my evening of single parenting, getting kids to activities and church, etc. much more manageable. She’s at work until late, so it is a meal she won’t even get to eat. It is prepared as an act of kindness to me – an act of 1 Corinthians 13 love.
The kids and I are about to sit down and eat the chicken she left in the crock pot today. I’ll take each bite this evening with a little more guilt that usual, but also with a little more gratitude.
Gayla, I’m really sorry I let you get wet today. That was selfish and unkind of me. If you get sick from it, you have my permission to sneeze into the crock pot next Wednesday afternoon.
I don’t think she’ll do that, though, because love is kind. And Gayla is kind. And I am working on it.