I often struggle to do more than what I am expected to do. Especially if that means that I have to back down from my own wants.
My nephew got married a few weeks ago and I was given the dreaded task of toasting him and his new bride.
As much as I love acting and performing in front of a crowd, I despise being myself in front of a crowd…speaking my own real words while looking into a bunch of other eyes makes me very uncomfortable.
My first thought was to be really, really funny, but when you don’t know the audience how do you know if your jokes will land??? One day I went out for a run and started to think about this whole dilemma.
Ted and I have gone to marriage counselling at different points in our 3+ years marriage. There have been different challenges along the way, such as blending a family and disciplining kids that you didn’t birth.
However, for both of us the number one battle is trust and, if I’m honest, I create this battle more than he does. So as I was running, I thought of one of the things our counsellor had told us.
When I am struggling with trust and assigning feelings to Ted that he never said he had, I start to pull away.
I become quiet – sometimes for days on end – and that leads to him shutting down, and there we sit – a week later, having only conversations about necessities like schedules and meals and kids.
During our last session, our counsellor asked Ted if he touches me when we are in that place – hold my hand, hug me, a hand on my back, a kiss. He said no and so she asked me if I would like it if he would do those things.
I thought about it and imagined it happening in those hard times and I gave a solid yes. Yes, I would love it if he would reach out and touch me when I’ve done nothing but push him away from me out of fear.
Well, not long after that, I was pushing Ted away again. We were both quiet with each other but we needed to take our dog for a walk.
About halfway through the silence of that walk, Ted reached out and grabbed my hand. He held it all the way until we got into our driveway.
Then he dropped my hand and said “That was really hard to take your hand. I didn’t want to.”
It was this thought that led to what I said in my toast.
We will never always get it right,
so when we don’t,
may we do more than we want to
and also move on to
the next right thing on the list.
And if we don’t do that,
just keep going down the list
until we get it right.
“Remember to try to do the hard things.
No one needs a pep talk to do the easy things – to kiss and hold each other when all is right in the world; to speak lovingly in the good times…
But remember to try to do the hard things…to hold and kiss each other and speak lovingly of and to each other when it is NOT the easy thing to do.
May you laugh together more than you cry together.
When you cry together, may you hold each other close more than you push the other away.
When you push the other away, may you come back to say sorry and offer pure forgiveness more than you stubbornly hold onto your own rights and opinions.
When you are being stubborn, may you see the other as your best friend, your lover, your biggest fan more than you see them as your enemy or someone out to hurt you or upset you.
When someone has been hurt or upset, may you speak loving words, kind words, accepting words more than retaliation words or defensive words.
When words are spoken – no matter what they are – may you listen, though you might want to argue or defend…May you listen with an open and gentle heart more than you shut out their words because you aren’t willing to budge.
When you aren’t in a willing place to budge, may you force your hand to reach out for theirs; may your arms open to hug them more than you want to fold them over your chest and close up.
And in all these things, may you look to God and pray for the other person more than you look to yourself and your needs.
Here’s to a long marriage of doing more than the least you can do.”