If somebody gave out an award for grouchiness and downright cantankerousness, I am sure I would take top honors. Of course, according to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, there is no honor in being grouchy or cantankerous nor is there room for it in our humble abode.
For the past week I have been grouchy and cantankerous and any other adjective you might want to throw into that pot of naughtiness. By the time the week ended that pot was boiling hot and about to explode.
It is always beneficial to look back over an incident and figure out where you made your mistake. I often don’t do it, but in this case, the mistake I made was so obvious it could not be overlooked.
Most faults can be remedied if you know what to do about it. Then, there are those mistakes that no matter what you do, it still ends up being a mistake. My mistake was I exhibited my downright grouchiness and cantankerous spirit in front of my wife.
I know the marriage manual says there should be no secrets between husband and wife. Down through the years I have tried to maintain that part of the marital relationship, and I have done a good job thus far. What the manual does not say is, there are special times when a husband should not speak his mind in front of his wife. My wife constantly reminds me that God gave men, two ears and one mouth for a particular purpose, open our ears and shut our mouth.
I do not think I got that far in the instructions, but I will take my wife’s word on that one, you can be sure.
In my defense, however, this past week I was colder than I have ever been in all my life, at least that I can remember. Now, it is one thing to be cold, but quite a different thing to tell somebody, especially your wife, that you are cold.
I made that mistake once and told my wife I was cold. She felt my forehead, got out my bathrobe, fussed over me all evening and made me hot tea with honey to drink. I wanted to tell her that I was cold; I did not have a cold.
It was so cold the little gray cells were shivering so much they were not functioning 100 percent. According to some people’s opinion, it is a rare occasion when they do function 100 percent.
As I remember it, I was looking out our back patio window, watching it drizzle and shivering in the cold. If I need any defense on my side, I did not realize that in the same room was the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.
Enveloped in this aroma of sheer ignorance, I said out loud something to the effect, “I hate this cold weather!” Following that pointed observation, as I now reflect, I also growled most viciously.
It was then I heard a noise explode behind me.
“Well, at least it is not snowing! You should be grateful for that.”
I swung around as quickly as possible, and there standing in all her glory with both hands firmly planted on her hips was my wife staring in my direction. The tone of her voice and her demeanor revealed I was in for one of her infamous lectures.
All week long, we had been noticing some of our family up north experiencing some very severe snow conditions. Some even missed school for several days because of the snow drifting. One family member way up north was without electricity for nearly a week. In some of these areas, the temperature has been in the minus degree for at least a week.
“Don’t you know how lucky you are to live in a place where it doesn’t snow and the temperature doesn’t get below zero? Instead of complaining, you should be grateful for what you really have. Think of members of our family up north suffering in that freezing weather! Would you like to change places with them right now?”
I have often said this and I am sure I will continue saying it until the day I die, when my wife is right she is right. No argument from me here.
Then she made a statement I am still mulling over. “Be thankful for what you don’t have.”
I must say she had a great point there. Sometimes it is quite hard to be thankful for what you do not have when you are so caught up in the problems right in front of you.
Thinking about that, my grouchiness and cantankerousness began evaporating. I suppose they have their place, and I am ashamed to admit they are in my place more often than I should allow them.
In many ways, it is easy to be thankful for what you have in your hand at the time. The apostle Paul pointed this out in one of his letters. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
For most of us, being thankful does not come natural. It is something we have to work at on a daily basis. It has to go a step further.
Be thankful for what you do not have and you will be all that more thankful for what you do have.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.com.