She sat with her face still in her hands after praying wishing she could cry but glad that she couldn’t. Crying came so easy when she was young, too easy. Now as an older woman she automatically held it back, all it seem to have accomplished through the years was to make her nose red and her eyes puffy. At the same time she longed for release of the emotional pain and spiritual disappointment brought on by life. Wishing that crying even sobbing would release the tension in her body, the pain in her stomach.
God’s word has spoken to her about everything pertaining to life. He had brought her through loss of love, loss of friends, loss of fellowship, loss of loved ones, year after year. Verses cleansing and repairing damage left by untold narratives that burrowed into her mind and soul from disappointments and pain.
This time her mind was blank and her heart hollow. She could only watch as people she thought were friends seem to line up to take turns attacking and viciously insulting her husband.
More and more he seemed resigned to let them swing away at him. Taking verbal punches each one landing where it may, causing more damage until he seemed unable to defend himself and he would never have swung back it wasn’t his way. For years he was able to hold his own to continue to hold the standard, to patiently protect what was right even if others vehemently disagreed. He was a boxer in the ring stunned and swollen beyond recognition. He could no longer garner the strength to even lift his arms to protect himself from the constant blows.
In her mind she could see him sitting in his chair, staring aimlessly out the window, doubting his calling, doubting his ability to serve, doubting his own judgement where once had been a vibrant man with a vision. He had hopes and dreams and wanted not only to share those with all he could but wanted to see change in those he encountered. Now his eyes were blank, he was thin and tired and so was she.
She wanted to hate someone, blame someone, yell at someone and tell them to open their eyes…but that is not her place. What would it produce, more hate, more blame and more yelling. Justice is not produced by these methods. Kindness takes courage and God has told us over and over again to be courageous.
Hearing the back door open she rose from her chair and went into the kitchen. Her husband smiled a weak smile at her and kissed her cheek. She was glad now she had not allowed herself to cry. She wouldn’t want to add to his burden by seeing her face swollen and tear stained.
He pulled a chair out from the kitchen table and slouched into it. She joined him, looking at his weary face her heart wrenching at how much he had aged beyond his years. She was weak with heartache.
“I told them I was resigning, I had done all I could and it was time for me to move on–they agreed.”
“Of course they did,” she replied. “They rarely supported you. She caught herself, “I’m sorry, I’m not helping. I understand; you did the right thing, what else could you do?” She checked her bitterness regretting the words that had so easily shot from her lips.
They both understood, but then again they didn’t. It is so hard to grasp attacks when they come from those you have been closely knit to, those who claimed a close acquaintance with you and then it changes so quickly, so drastically over unimportant things that become huge points of contention.
They sat quietly for several moments that seemed much longer. She placed her hand on his shoulder as she rose from her chair. “I’ll make you some dinner,” knowing she would not be able to swallow one bite.
“No, don’t bother, I’m not hungry.” He looked at her and got up as well. I’m going to go lie down for a while, I’m exhausted. “Don’t say anything about this yet, not until it’s determined when the time is right.”
“I won’t,” was all she could say. thinking to herself, who would she talk to, those she wanted to talk to would be as hurt as she was and she didn’t want to do that to anyone, then there were those who would rejoice and they would find out soon enough, probably before anyone else, that seems to be how it goes in these matters.
He turned back to her and took her hands in his and began to pray. “ Dear Lord, be with us now, we must not hate or be vindictive to anyone. You place us in circumstances to grow us. You alone determine justice and we must abide by it with grace, kindness and walk humbly before you. You will show us what is next in our life and provide for us in every need, physical, emotional and most importantly spiritual, Amen.” She smiled at him, this man who looked so tired, slouching just minutes ago seemed to stand taller and stronger as he spoke, his face shining. Her smile was genuine she had gained strength from his faith once again.
She sat back down after he left the room and her heart was soothed as with a rich balm. She would forgive and love because God had so richly done that for her. She would be kind and there was no doubt in her mind that her husband would be even more so. They would move forward. God, is just and allows us to be humbled and teaches us to love in spite of it. In time they would see what they could not see now. She knew that right around the corner was healing and a new beginning and all they had experienced and learned would be used for his glory.