Baking soda, flowers & a cup of coffee.
My alarm went off at 5:30 and I reluctantly drug myself out bed. I was tired. But as much as I wanted to stay asleep, I felt the day beckoning.
As I tiptoed through our dimly lit kitchen, I saw the box of baking soda on the counter. “Oh, good,” I thought… “he didn’t forget.”
I mindlessly made my way through the morning routine, knowing all that stood between me and that first cup of coffee was brushing my teeth and washing my face. The coffee was already brewed (praise hands for programmable coffee makers) and the same thought crossed my mind: “Thank goodness…he didn’t forget.”
In the darkness, I saw something else sitting on the little dresser we use as a coffee station. I had to squint a little bit to make it out, but it only took me a second to realize it was a little mason jar full of flowers. This time I paused… “Wow, he didn’t forget...”
At face value, these things may seem both insignificant and unrelated. But they are not. Because each one, in its own way, communicated an important message to me. The baking soda reminded me that even in the middle of life’s messes (even when he’s not home), I am not forgotten. The unexpected flowers showed me that even in the chaos, I am not overlooked. And the coffee made me feel like even in the daily grind…beginning in the early morning hours when the rest of the house is still…I am not alone.
The previous few weeks of our marriage, I had been feeling just that…alone. Things had been…hard. Like, testing us to the core of who we are as a humans hard. And not because of outside factors – like work problems or stress with extended family or a financial strain. Things had been hard because of us. Because we were getting in the way of our own marriage. Because we were each making decisions – consciously and unconsciously – that threatened the very core of our union.
To be honest, we had allowed ourselves to slip into a space where we were both asking… “What were we thinking? This is never going to work. We are SO incompatible.”
This was not the first time we’d been in this place. Truthfully, it has probably happened more in our 6 years of marriage than either of us would be comfortable admitting. Yet here I am…admitting it.
Because even when things get hard. Even when the doubt creeps in. Even when we can’t seem to get anything right in our marriage. Even when we both try to turn away…
We always come back. We always show up. We always try again.
I share this because there’s something I’ve learned in these marriage defining moments. And maybe someone reading this is in a place with their partner right now that seems impossible. Maybe that person is you, and all you need is for someone to say, “Me too, but…” So here it is.
One of the ways I think we have survived those hard days…the hard weeks…the hard months…is just bearing one another. That’s it. We tolerate. We endure. We keep showing up in the little things, even when we don’t want to. Even when it’s hard. Even when it’s the last thing on earth we want to do.
We may go any given amount of time without making eye contact, sharing a smile or a exchanging a kiss. But we still serve one another in humility. We bear each other in the name of Jesus.
Sometimes that looks like me doing a load of laundry I’d rather leave heaped up in his hamper. Or him filling my car with gas when I leave it on “E” yet again. Sometimes it looks like me doing the chores while he’s on a work trip. Or him hanging with the girls so I can spend some time alone.
And sometimes, it looks like baking soda, flowers & a cup of coffee.