You don’t have to have been married over 35 years to know something is terribly wrong when you look at your cell phone and see that your wife has called you ten times in the last two hours.
Especially when you immediately remember that you have the car and were supposed to pick her up at the school.
I was working in my office at home, and had left my cell phone in the bedroom. On vibrate. The land line rang a couple of times, but I almost always ignore it when I’m working. Katie has a home business, and it’s seldom for me.
I called her immediately and she was, well, relieved. That’s a lot better than mad, of course. But she had been planning my funeral, as one of her friends so aptly put it.
Is he OK? Did he fall? I have my share of medical issues, and it was easy to imagine the worse. She knew I was home. She called our son. Do you know where your dad is? No, he said.
So she was glad when I finally called. She didn’t see it as one more example of my forgetfulness. She saw it as an answer to prayer.
I picked her up, a little sheepishly. And took her to dinner. It seemed like the right thing to do. I apologized, of course. I’m sorry for the stress I caused.
While we were eating, our youth director came into the restaurant. He had been at a concert where my son was playing his double bass, which we had forgotten. So we were able to go by the coffee house, just a few blocks away and pick up the last half hour of the show.
And she was glad again. We would have missed it entirely if I had answered the phone, she said. It was a lovely evening.
Let’s just say that’s not the way we would always have processed something like this. There were times when both of us would have been quick to express our frustrations with each others’ weaknesses. And I have more than a few.
But growing older together we learn more about how to extend grace toward each other. And to see its source.
She saw the entire afternoon not as a series of coincidences or even frustrations, but as a work of providence. God arranged the whole evening. Her husband was fine. Her son was embracing his gifts. She loves a good tostado.
I’m not making excuses for my failures. I’m just saying it’s good to be married to such a woman, whose faith is still growing and whose love will cover a multitude of sins.
She rests more easily in the covenant we made with each other, almost 37 years ago. But that’s only because she rests more fully in the covenant of grace, purchased with the very blood of Christ.
Secure in God’s love, she is more secure in mine. And she finds delight in moments where before we both found anger or guilt. We are learning to rest in God’s covenant keeping love.
Life is much better that way.