Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Grow up!

Sunday night as we watched "Extreme Makeover, Home Edition", Beve began chanting, "Two hours late, two hours late."  It snowed on and off all day Sunday, making him hope school would be delayed Monday morning.  He got his wish.  However, that didn't stop him from leaving the house before 7 AM, which is late for him (he often leaves before 6), but about the time most teachers show up for a normal day.  Beve is usually either the first or second person to his building.  He's an early riser (sometimes an extremely early riser, say 2 or 3 AM) and wakes up quickly, ready to tackle the fires of his day!

On the other hand, I slug my way out of sleep. After fighting my mind to tumble into it.  Trying to make the old brain slow down enough to turn off. Once asleep, however, a fire couldn't wake me. And I don't feel rested even when I finally manage to get my eyes open, stumble down the hall to put the tea kettle on, sit staring out the window, not focusing, for a good hour before I can make my body catch up to the day.

It's always been like this for me.  And like that for Beve.  As a child, I was the one who didn't fall asleep in the car as our family traveled across the state late at night.  I'd sit between my parents in the front seat of our Carry-All while my siblings sprawled across the platform bed my dad had built behind the back seat.  You'd never get away with such a thing now, but that was before seatbelt laws, took the headaches of traveling away from my parents.  Their goal was to get us all to sleep so they could have a few hours of uninterrupted conversation.  But I tended to squelch that possibility by being too bright-eyed and open-eared far into the evening.

Beve, on the other hand, learned to sleep on his mother's lap as they traveled.  He was the baby of the family, and called her lap his domain far longer than his siblings.  Again, driving thusly isn't something we ever did with our children.  It almost seems criminal that our parents were all so cavalier about our safety, except that I know them. I know that Beve's mother was a stickler for laws, rules and the like.  She would never have broken one purposely.  And my teacher mom and Boy Scout dad were the same.  And there's a part of me that longs for those more innocent days when kids piled willy-nilly into cars and only a parent's quick hand held them in place.

But as usual, I digress.  (Perhaps I should have named my blog that, since it's such a common occurance!) The thing is that Beve and I are opposites when it comes to sleep.  Sometimes, if we each have a difficult night, we are both awake in the middle--me just drifting off about the time he's waking up.  This happens more often than I wish.  For both our sakes.  But we manage to muddle through this difference well enough most of the time.

Our differences.  They spring up like weeds everywhere we look.  Back in our 'courting' days, which makes it sound like we lived at the turn of the century (and I'm not talking 20th-21st), we patted ourselves on the pat for being so alike.  But those similarities were primarily external: our birthdays a day apart, both being left-handed, both having professors for dads, living on the same street, having become believers within a couple of months of each other, having the same social group in school. That sounds like a lot, doesn't it? But what it adds up to in a relationship is a hill of beans.  A whole lot of nothing.  In fact, our differences are more telling than those similarities.

 And those differences, even the morning, night difference, has led to difficulties at one time or another.  For example, I want to--NEED to--talk about the day at night.  Late into the night, if I have to/get to.  Beve could no more do that than fly (which reminds me, I had a dream last night that I could fly...love those dreams!).  He's drifting off before I've finished making my first point.

And you know the Bible verse that says, "Don't let the sun go down on your anger?"  Well, at every wedding shower I've been to (and trust me, that's been PLENTY), that verse has come up.  Always with the notion that a couple should stay up and work it out before sleeping.  Well, I learned a long time ago, that if I was going to work out my anger at Beve before sleeping, I would have to do it with God, not with him.  He just couldn't keep his eyes open for it.  And what that did was force me to go to the source.  To deal with Beve the best possible way--with God.  When I felt hurt by something, angry, or just annoyed, I learned to tell God all about it, allow Him to work in me alone, and then, by morning, I almost always feel more kindly inclined toward my Beve.  Especially if I allowed that Holy, healing Hand of God to place my hand on Beve's back, or arm to pray for him.  Praying for Beve late into the night as the answer to the differences between us.  And touching him physically--to God--as the surrender of my negatively feelings.

Sometimes that has failed me.  No, that isn't quite the truth.  Sometimes I haven't done those things. Sometimes I've held on to the anger, hurt, my own stubborn pride through a troubled sleep into the next day.  That's when the sun has really gone down and come up again on that anger, and I've walked around thinking, "how the heck can I get over this?  It's all him, after all..."  And those days, those cloudy, dismal days have been the ones where our differences have seemed insurmountable, my feelings completely justified, and life pretty bleak.  But by the time I've tried to sleep with those differences another night, I can't do it.  I have to put them back into perspective.  See them as provisions God has made for each of us, made so that in the chipping away of our most stubborn selves, we grow up.  For His sake--each other's sake, our children's sake--not to mention the world's-- Grow up!

*I don't want to imply that Beve and I don't also work out our differences together, but that working out, just like the working out of our salvations, is always better--more successful, if you will--if I also give Him room to work them out in me--for HIS good pleasure.  See Philippians 2:12-13

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