When my husband arrives at the door after work, the entire house erupts in chaotic excitement. Little toddler tippy-toes dance full-speed ahead in an attempt to beat older siblings to the entrance in our kitchen. Sometimes the children run and hide, giggling in place as they wait for Dad to notice they are missing and being a game of hide-and-seek in an attempt to find them. Other times, there is a rush of energy as they hurry to finish a task, usually picking up their toys, so Dad will be proud of them for cleaning up. But always, there is commotion. Shouts of joy and exclamatory outbursts can be heard throughout our home: "Daddy's here! Daddy's here!"
Yesterday was no exception.
L. ran to the door, her chubby two-year-old legs working overtime to
keep up with her outstretched arms. "Daddy!!" She was ready to leap into
his arms before his keys had even turned the lock. The older two ran in
behind her and quickly began chattering, less concerned about whether
anyone was paying any attention and more interested in relieving the
in-suppressible need to verbally release all the information that their
little minds had been storing throughout the day, waiting patiently for
an opportunity to tell Dad every detail he might have missed.
stood there across the room and smiled. Our eyes met and he smiled back
and said a simple, "Hi." Then untangling the children from his legs, he
walked over to kiss me.
The children had more to say,
so I walked back into the next room to resume folding laundry.
Eventually, the kids dispersed to continue their own activities, which
they had previously abandoned when they heard Dad's car door shut in the
driveway, and I returned to the kitchen. He turned to face me and
leaned his back against the counter. I stood near the stove.
"So," I asked, "How did it go."
He shrugged, smirked, then smiled and sighed. "It went good." His tone was not confident.
"What does that mean?" I pried for a more explicit answer.
looked at me knowingly and began to explain. "You know, it's one of
those things that you can either get mad about or look at it as an
opportunity to learn something and grow from it."
smile diminished and I could feel the warm tears welling. I knew I would
not like whatever I was about to hear. He knew it too.
just choosing not to let it make me angry. I want to recognize my own
part in it and I want to be better because of it. I want you to do the
I just looked at him. No reply. He knows me,
I'm already angry and I don't even know why yet. His smile was
understanding, compassionate and reassuring. "I need you to be
forgiving, because if you get angry about it, it is just going to make
me angry and I don't want that. I just needed to say that before I tell
you anything else."
My heart sank as he went on to
share with me the details of his meeting. What he learned that day would
give anyone cause to feel angry. Yet he stood there, saddened, but
gracious as he gently explained it all. Not once did his voice raise.
Not once did he speak unkindly about anyone. He humbly accepted more
responsibility than I know he needs to own. I knew he was devastated
inside, but determined; he was angry about what had taken place, yet
refused to become embittered by it, refused to dwell in that anger.
Instead, his response to the whole situation, and especially to this
information, has been perhaps one of the most beautiful things I have
witnessed in his life during the fifteen years that I have known him.
the children squealed and laughed in the other room, my heart was torn
between the natural reaction to news like this and the one my husband
had not only asked me to have, but was modeling for me. Every time I
felt that heat of fury burning in my gut, I thought of him. He was the
one who should be most enraged. He wasn't. He had every human right to
be angry about this, but he chose not to. I realized what a brave and
strong man I am married to.
To do right is certainly commendable. But to choose,
even in the privacy of your own home, in the familiarity and safety of
your own heart, to embrace what is right - that is truly strength of
character. Anyone can modify their behavior publicly or say nice things in front of
others. Integrity is doing right regardless of who sees or doesn't see, it is consistency of character. It takes strength to choose to reject the right to be angry and
instead to respond with forgiveness towards those who have wronged us.
My husband is truly the very best man I know. He is
wise. He is humble and teachable and forgiving. He is a living and
honest example to me of love. And although, he is imperfect, as I look
at the definition of love, he is all these things. I don't say that just
to flatter him. I live life with him everyday and he really does live
an example of love - not perfect love, but one of the best examples I
have ever witnessed. I am so honored to know this man and to share life
with him and to walk through disappointments with him. If not for his
example, my heart would be a mess right now. But he is so confident in
his determination to do what is right, that I cannot help but to want to
follow his lead and let go of my right to be angry and to remember the
abundant grace that our God has offered each of us. I have been
forgiven for so much, I must also forgive others.
is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not
proud. It is not rude. It is not selfish. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight
in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects. Love always
trusts. Love always hopes. Love always perseveres. Love never fails. [1 Corinthians 13]
In what might have been one of
the most devastating moments in our lives so far, there is peace and joy
that overwhelm the discouragement and sadness; there is love, whose
brilliance outshines the shadows of injustice and anger.
is no wonder that our home explodes with excitement when Daddy arrives -
even on days when he brings sad news along with him. He fills our home
with hope and kindness, protection and love.
I am blessed.