The Plot To Steal Joy: Day 18
Day 18 Unfolds:
I’ve had the privilege of working with several contractors over the course of the past few months. One thing I’ve noticed in common among the contractors is this - they each have a cheerful attitude. They enjoy manual labor, working with their hands, and though they don’t earn much, they are always smiling and always carrying a song, whistle or tune on their lips. Whether they are working in the rain or under the hot sun, they labor hard, sweat beads forming on their foreheads and drenching their backs, a laughter or two cracking in their midst. It almost made construction seem like a fun job. And even with their easy going attitude, they get their job done well.
I’ve shared openly about the state of my delicate relationship with my husband these past few months. It feels like we’re daily walking on a tightrope - we have to be nimble and agile as we thread on the thin rope between us so as not to fall into the violently rough waters raging underneath the rope which constantly threaten to swallow us whole.
Sometimes we succeed in holding on to each other and keeping our balance on the tightrope; more often than not we each fall deep into the cold waters and cough out water and pebbles onto each other after we have swum ashore to safety.
It occurred to me that while my husband is stressed over many a responsibilities of providing for us financially, the least I can do is to offer my moral support. And by moral support I mean to offer a cheerful support to his stressed demeanor. This is what good marriages do - we counterbalance our spouse’s inadequacies. A marriage is an intricate partnership - we fill the gap where our spouse falls short so that we’re both lifted up and balanced on the scale.
Like my general contractors, I can be that cheerful support so that no matter how stressed and upset he is, he would be softened to return to his normal, loving, gentle and patient self. I should not counter his impatience with impatience. When he blows up, I should keep my still and absorb his blows like a sponge. And provide that constant cheer so he calms down.
It’s easier for me to write this down than to practice it in real life. I try hard. Oh so hard. And do I succeed all the time? Sometimes I do, most times I don’t. Like today. We both lost our cool at each other and try hard as I might, I could not be cheerful around him. I tried reminding myself that everyone loves a smiling face, no matter how hardened they are. Yet I failed. So I walked away. And sat down and wrote. As I wrote, I'm reminded afresh that though we may be beaten again and again, we don't have to stay down. We can get back up again. So I literally got up and walked back towards him, reluctant as I was. And because I did, I declare today a victory over my unforgiving spirit which wanted to remain in anger. I declare victory as I fight harder than ever to retain my joy by initiating reconciliation.
The score today?