Thursday, September 29, 2016

Three strikes... you're out?

On Sunday nights we like to order in. It used to be that I would make a really nice, delicious (if I may say so myself) homemade pizza, but from March to November, an incredible heat takes over our beautiful little Island of Puerto Rico, and baking becomes a sacrifice I'm not always willing to make in my approximately 5 by 4 kitchen. So on Sunday nights we order in. A few weeks back, my husband wanted Chili's so he called and we placed an order. Half an hour later, he came home with two completely different dishes from what we order... And I got mad.
I was so mad because I was hungry and he never checks the order once he has it in his hands. Never! I was mad because it was late. I was mad because this meant that he had to go back, get the right orders and come home and it would take about 45 more minutes. I was mad because how difficult is it to pick up the right thing? I was mad because he argued that it was the lady's fault, not his. She was the one who gave him the wrong thing. But how difficult is it to open the bag and check if it's correct? I was mad because he knows I get mad whenever this happens and he still doesn't get it right. I was mad. So mad.
And my husband went back to Chili's. And about 45 minutes later came back. Everything in the order looked fantastic this time. So I opened the bag... Yep, again, mine was wrong. Oh, it was the right dish, but with everything I said I didn't want. You see, I'm a picky eater. I don't want mayonnaise or spicy sauces or tomatoes or guacamole. But my husband didn't check the bag. Again. And I was mad. And he was mad. And the lady at the restaurant? Yes, she took the blame. It was her fault, said my husband.
I wish I could say I was gracious. I wish I could say I thought about the many times I have failed, made mistakes, and done him wrong. Oh, but no. I was furious. I didn't eat it. I just closed the container, told him he could eat it for lunch the next day, and had a big bowl of cereal for dinner. But I was fuming, throwing him darts with every look, and thinking about the many things I wanted to say to him but didn't. And it was not good. But you know what? After a while, we finished eating, watched tv, and it all went back to normal. The next day it was all forgotten, a thing of the past, and a blessing because he had a good lunch without spending another dime.
And it hit me: sometimes extending grace is as simple as getting a bit of perspective. Sure, I had to settle for cereal instead of amazing quesadillas. And sure, my husband made the same mistake he always does, but it was a mistake with no eternal consequence. It was a mistake that took care of itself because it provided for him the next day. What would I have gained if I had stayed mad? Maybe a headache; maybe more than three I'm sorrys from my husband; and a whole lot of tension, uneasiness, and discomfort in our home, around our son, in our bedroom. So no. I didn't stay mad. I couldn't stay mad. I didn't want to stay mad. I gained way too much by just letting it go. I had peace, contentment, and a good night sleep.
We are not perfect. We do well to remember that we mess up, maybe not with a restaurant order, but maybe we leave the lights on, or the clothes on the floor, or the dirty dishes on the sink. Yes, we all have our fair share of strikes. Wouldn't it be great if they were met with a little bit of perspective and grace? After all, we do far worse things in our walk with God and He is always willing to forgive and forget completely.
So those were my husband's two strikes in one night. Has there been a third one? Yes. And a fourth and fifth one. And I have had a lot more than I care to say. But we've tried to be kind with one another and find a bit of funny in those situations. Just the other day he wanted to order Chili's once again. You know what I said to him? "I don't want Chili's. I don't trust you with the order." And my husband laughed and said, "How about Applebee's?"

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