Today, Flyboy and I were out working in our soon-to-be-planted vegetable garden. He was rototilling and I was following behind raking and picking up rocks. The tiller was listing a bit, so I grabbed the handle closest to me to help steady it. Flyboy looked over at me and said firmly, “I will do the tilling.” My feelings were immediately hurt.
It is such a small thing, isn’t it? Not even worth talking about. But we all have our hot buttons, right?
I stewed for a while and wondered if I should interrupt the garden work to tell him how I was feeling. But Flyboy was in a great mood and happy as a clam while using his new (to him) rear-tine tiller that was doing most of the work itself, leaving him to just guide it through. I decided to wait until later to tell him he’d hurt my feelings, which gave me some time to pray through it and sort it out.
It took me back to 1975, the year we got married. I was all of 18 years old. I had to figure out how to be a wife AND how to be an adult, both at the same time. I had never lived on my own — a year in the dorm doesn’t quite count. Flyboy is five years older than me, and had already been an adult for five years longer than me. And truth be told, he’d really been on his own since he was about 13. I was learning everything from scratch. And there were days I felt like I wasn’t getting it at all. Like the time Flyboy went after the hard water stains around the kitchen faucet base with a Brillo pad. I had not even noticed they were there. I think I cried every day for an entire year. Time and time again I felt as if I wasn’t enough.
This is why my feelings were hurt today. I was back in 1975, smothered by that sense of never being quite enough.
But guess what? A lot of years have passed since then and both Flyboy and I have done a lot of growing up. We’ve endured some really hard times (just like everybody else) and after almost 45 years, we are as close as two people could be.
Back to the garden, where this happened: I was getting tired and Flyboy immediately commandeered my rake. He was cheerful and protective and gallant and a joy to be with. The longer I thought about it, the farther away 1975 was in my rearview window, and suddenly, I was happily back in 2020 with this amazing man. The need to talk about it evaporated as I witnessed his kindness and hard work and the camaraderie we enjoy working together. I knew then and there it was not his intent to hurt my feelings. And the fact they were hurt was my fault, not his, and I was able to let it go.
Sometimes it’s prudent to look past the offense before confronting it. Sometimes it’s actually an issue with OUR filter and not the other person trying to be hurtful. Once I’d sorted this out, I could remember that assuming the worst about Flyboy’s motives is never, ever helpful. It is so much more helpful to think the best of his heart.
Thankfully, this is happening less often as I get older, but when it does, I’m reminded that surrender to God’s will and way in our lives is a process. And every time I run into myself, I want to back away and give God room to help me through it. I pray the same for you.