Friday, May 9, 2014

But Not Us.

Last night I chucked my phone across the basement.  I wasn't being vindictive or manipulative.  I had just had enough.  Greg and I had been sitting within two feet of each other for half an hour without talking.  He was checking his laptop for the latest NFL draft news.  I was checking out Facebook and Instagram on my phone.

And we weren't talking.  But we had every excuse in the book.

It was nine o'clock and the girls had just gone to bed.
It had been an exhausting week.
He had just finished his last class for the semester.
I had just finished a marathon of a day with the girls.


Work has been really tough for him lately.
Life has been really busy for us lately.

At least that's what we told ourselves.

But at some point in our little inhabiting-the-same-space-but-not-interacting-ness, I looked over at my husband of ten years and I became a little angry and a lot sad.    I wasn't angry with him as much as I was with myself.  My phone suddenly felt like a hot potato and his laptop, I swear, was growing horns.  I was ready to go all Xena warrior princess on our mobile devices.

I said, quietly to myself so Greg wouldn't think I was crazy (a little too late in our marriage for this), "But not us."

Yes, we are tired.  We are overdrawn and don't know which way is up.  And, yes, something has to give.  But not us. It's not going to be us.  We are not going to be what gives in this equation.

The easy thing to do is to check out.  To run towards something that looks like relief from everyday reality.  We can get lost in our laptops, in Sports Center, in Facebook and Etsy and whatever else calls out to us.  Also, chocolate.  For me.  Flaming Hot Cheetos for him.

But what we don't realize, in those few short minutes at the end of each night that we have to be husband and wife,  is that those tiny moments are all that we may have to be married that day.  Things need to be said.  Prayers need to be prayed.  These lives need to be joined together again.   So that we can face tomorrow as one.

I'm a huge fan of sitting down with a cozy blanket and a book in the evening.  I also love me some Richard Castle and Kate Beckett.  But when time together is at a premium; and we are tired, anxious, and feeling fragile...

That's when our TV needs to go.
That's when our phones need to go.
That's when our laptops need to go.
That's when our calendars need to be cleared a little.

That's when we put a stake in the ground and say, "But not us."

Because we are not the thing that needs to go. We stay.  We need to stay and face each other so that we can walk beside one another.  We need to check out of anything distracting and check-in to the Life that God has called us to lead. As one.  As a family.  As a team.

Go team.

So. I chucked my phone across the basement last night.  Greg looked up at me in surprise, saying, "Hey.  What's up?"  And we talked.  And I cried a little bit.  Per usual.  And we hugged.  We made the most of the fifteen minutes we had left before I started falling asleep on the couch.  It wasn't anything magical.  But it felt as if, just for a little while, we held space for one another and declared, "Not us.  Not tonight."  And that, in itself, felt like a small victory.

Thank you Jesus.

Love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit…
~ C. S. Lewis ~