At times we get on each other’s nerves.
We love each other, don’t get me wrong. We’re a good team, best friends even. We agree wholeheartedly on the important things in life. We enjoy each other’s company and love to laugh together.
But sometimes, we annoy each other. Sometimes, we hurt each other’s feelings. Sometimes, we allow the rush, stress, and frustration with something going on that day or week to influence how we see and speak to one another in a particular moment.
This past week or so has been a little more like this than usual.
As we’ve neared the end of the school year things have gotten even more hectic with projects, parties, and awards days. On top of school, there’s been church, ball, and all the other normal everyday things. All good things…just a lot of them.
Overall, it’s been a wonderful year complete with awesome teachers, and we’re so grateful. But now, we’re all a little tired.
The last few nights our kiddos have gotten to bed later than usual and the results have shown themselves in the mornings as we try to get ready for school and work. Simple tasks like brushing teeth and hair have been marked with whining and frustration. And the more complaining we’ve heard, the more frustrated my husband and I have gotten, both with the kids and with each other.
So when “water fun day” rolled around this past week for my little boy, and I’d forgotten to get his stuff ready the night before, we were all pretty frazzled. I rushed around grabbing an extra set of clothes and a beach towel at the last minute while spraying sunscreen wildly as I ushered him out the door. Upon reaching the porch, my little girl announced that she had to go to the bathroom so back inside we came.
After a few deep breaths and silent prayers for patience, we were on the way, just in time for my daughter to get a tardy for being three minutes late.
I drove home and walked back in the house feeling irritated–irritated with myself for running late, irritated with feeling like I can never get it all done, and irritated with my husband for various (and truly uncalled for) reasons.
I dropped my purse in the foyer and walked to the kitchen, opening the cabinet in search of my favorite coffee mug. Naturally, it wasn’t there which seemed on par for the morning so I chose another one. It said, “Count it ALL joy,” and I pondered the irony as I walked over to the coffee pot.
And that’s when I saw it. The mug I’d been looking for was there at the coffee pot, waiting for me to fill it up. My husband had set it out for me even in the rush and frustration of the morning. A simple gesture. A thoughtful kindness. Just because.
Just because we’re a team.
Just because he wants to help.
Just because he loves me.
And he did this, even though we were on each other’s nerves.
And that is love. Love is action. It’s putting someone else before yourself. It’s not self-seeking. It’s choosing kindness even when you feel frustrated. It’s choosing patience even when you’re all tapped out. It’s extending grace when it’s undeserved because God’s grace has been shown to you.
Love doesn’t usually look like it does on television. It’s rarely flashy, shiny, or expensive. Rather, love often looks like a coffee mug beside a coffee pot on a stressful weekday morning.