I woke up feeling cranky that day. I’m not sure why so I’ll chalk it up to a restless night’s sleep or strange dreams or something.
Later that morning when I began cleaning our master bathroom shower, the glass shower door came off the track.
I fidgeted with it, fussing and fuming until finally I gave up because I still couldn’t get it seated properly. And that caused me to be even grouchier.
Thinking a cup of hot tea would surely soothe the savage beast that seemed to rage inside me, I made my way to the kitchen. Stepping into the dining room, I noticed the new curtains that I had just ironed the day before were wrinkly. “Are you kidding me?” I thought. Grrr!
About that time, hubby came home from taking some of that ‘too much stuff’ from our basement hoard, which also makes me irritated, to the recycling center. Not long after he stepped into the kitchen, I was growling about yet another issue.
“Wow, why are you so cranky?” he asked. “Get up on the wrong side of the bed?”
You know, when you’ve been married for 30 plus years, you should realize and remember what floats your spouse’s boat and also what just pushes his or her buttons.
And hubby was punching my buttons! Or so it seemed to me. The more he pushed, the more I griped and growled.
This unhappy sequence continued for most of the day. And although he fixed the shower door and even finished cleaning the shower for me, and helped me hang the curtains, I still wanted to bite his head off.
Outside – with snow flurries in the middle of April for heaven’s sake! – proved just as miserable and cold as it was inside. When hubby suggested we grab a burger for dinner, I balked. I really didn’t want to go out on this very un-spring-like day and I’m certain I even complained about that.
But off we went anyway to a local fast food place. On our way there, we argued in one of those ‘you misunderstood what I meant’ kind of disagreements, and this time, hubby was the one who exhibited crabbiness.
Guess it became contagious.
We ordered our burgers and sat in silence while we ate. And that’s when I noticed them.
The two of them sat alone in a booth behind my husband. I figured they were in their 80’s. She sat directly beside him and talked softly to him as he slowly chewed his food. She helped him lift his drink cup and maneuvered the straw in the direction of his mouth so he could sip his strawberry lemonade.
He was bothered by crumbs on his pants but couldn’t quite knock them off, so she did it for him. She even wiped his runny nose.
And right there in the middle of that Wendy’s restaurant, I wanted to cry.
I watched this married couple and the picture I witnessed was one of abiding love. The gentleman obviously suffered from frail health; I’m guessing that he had endured a slight stroke. He must have lost weight during his illness as well because he wore his wedding band, which matched his wife’s, on the middle finger of his left hand not his ring finger.
He answered slowly and quietly when his wife asked him something. And each time she came to his aid, he looked at her with gratitude. In conjunction, she treated him with patience and kindness.
I don’t think anyone else in the restaurant noticed them except me. As I sat there trying to swallow bites of hamburger around the huge lump in my throat and struggling not to let tears erupt, I knew I saw this couple for a reason. On this very day.
Someday, ‘they’ might be ‘us.’ That’s what I thought. And the image of a day that might come in the future moved me to conviction to be so very grateful for now. This moment, this day.
All day I had been cantankerous with my husband. My husband – the one I love – who is healthy and strong and good-hearted and willingly endures the likes of me. And I knew deep in my heart and soul that he didn’t deserve the treatment I had just given him.
I’m certain that God revealed the scene that unfolded in front of my eyes to put a check in my spirit, to remind me to be grateful for my marriage partner, even if he does push my buttons. And God reminded me that I need to season my words with grace and love and patience and kindness.
Because someday, we may be the old married couple sitting in a restaurant without our family along, tending to the other because one of us isn’t capable.
When we arrived home, I tearfully asked my husband if he had seen them. Yes, he had noticed them and he had one observation to make, “That’s what marriage is all about.”
On that best day of the year which started out so poorly, I was reminded why it’s important for me to remember love – true honest to goodness love that lasts a lifetime for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death do us part.
And I thank God for the lesson I learned. Thank you for this day.