It’s late, 9:38pm to be exact. Yes, that’s late for me. My body starts to power down pretty quick after 9:30pm. I wander into the kitchen and let out a huge sigh, loud enough for my husband to hear in the adjoining room. The dishes are piled high beside the sink, crumbs cover the counter, and the garbage is full to the brim. I think about loading the dishes and open the washer to find it full of clean dishes.
Thoughts of resentment form at the back of my mind, like the condensation on the frosted window looking out to the -45 degree night.
“Why didn’t he at least unload the dishes?” I think self-righteously. “I shouldn’t have to do everything!”
I open the dishwasher and start loudly stacking dishes into their places, letting them fall just a little harder than necessary. Negative thoughts flow freely as I finish unloading and begin putting dirty dishes in their places. He comes into the the kitchen and wraps his arms around me from behind. I tense up like a cold gust of winter wind. He lets go and begins to help me load the dishes. I wipe the counters impatiently.
“It’s garbage day tomorrow” I say, “and there’s a full bag in the garbage can and one sitting on the back steps.”
“Okay” he replies patiently. “Are you alright?”
He hugs me again and pride melts into shame and pools on the sill of my heart. How can I still be so selfish? Why can’t I joyfully clean the kitchen while he relaxes after a long day of work? Why do I still think of myself more highly than I ought to? Is this love? A list of to do’s and a scale constantly weighing who’s contributed more?
Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Heather, you think you’re better than him.
It’s a harsh truth, but I know its been dropped into my heart from heavenly places. And I know I don’t want to love this way.
I turn into my husbands’ embrace and return it with an apology.
I want to love better, without selfish ambition or vain conceit.
To serve, to give, to unload and load the dishwasher a thousand times in a row. To empty the garbage at 9:38pm without a negative thought. To get up to lock the doors or turn down the thermostat. To sweep and dust and as I work, allow myself to be renewed and refined and put back into my rightful place – below the ones I love.