Last week, I was at The Home Depot looking for trees for the front porch. Staring at the choices, very nearly in a daze, someone came up beside me.
“That tree is perfect” he said pointing to a beautiful Martha Stewart tree.
I looked over, he was an older gentleman with a kind face wearing a Mister Rogers style sweater.
“It is perfect” I agreed.
“My wife will love it”, he continued. “She puts up five trees every year. It makes her happy so it makes me happy too.” he chuckled. “This morning she decided she needed another one so she sent me out to find it and this is the one.”
We talked a little more about decorating and the time it takes to “put up Christmas”. Somehow we drifted back to the subject of his wife. He lit up when he told me they’d been married forever and that she went every week to the humane society, “She picks out a docile cat, puts it in a carrier and takes it to the local retirement home. It’s good for the cat and those old people love to dote over an animal. They’re as excited as children when she walks down the halls! They call her the cat lady!”
I couldn’t help noticing that he was as excited as a child when he talked about his wife.
After we said our good-byes I was 0vercome with emotion as I watched him walk away.
After all those years, I wondered, how is he so sweet and loving when he talks about her? How did he keep cynicism and sarcasm from worming in?
Maybe, he has always been tender in his word and tone toward his wife.
The thought came fast, as if Someone was just waiting for me to ask…
Perhaps, cynicism doesn’t just sprout after 50 years of marriage. Perhaps it grows slowly over time so the best way to guard against becoming grumpy in your 70’s is to practice a loving and tender tone now, in your 50’s.
I can’t tell you how many times the Father has mercifully given me the gift of this lesson. A loving and tender tone is not my strength dear friends, but it is most certainly my heart’s desire and I’m practicing 🙂
Do you have a weakness that God lovingly helps you to overcome?