Ok, I’m just kidding. I was going to call it the Wreath of Divorce, but then opted for the Wreath of Death – it sounded more like a Bruce Lee movie or James Bond franchise work, plus somehow the ‘eath’ in both words had a zen-like appeal. Why the title? Bear with me, I’ll explain.
So today me and the family woke up and we decided to attend church. Before church I was a little crabby and perhaps we all weren’t 100% our cheery selves, so we, …mostly me, were focusing on things that didn’t work, instead of things that did work. Never a good way to start a day.
I believe that I was pointing out things my wife was doing that I found erroneous, and I was annoyed by a few things my daughters were doing. None of the things were important or significant.
Then in church, as I was mumbling to myself about something I found annoying with my daughter, I suddenly saw a friend of ours wisk his child out of the church into the narthex, while nodding to a person in the crowd he knew as a nurse. The nurse and several people joined him outside the church. We all know that the child has had some medical challenges in his young life. We all got tense, you could see a few people tear up, and the priest made a comment as well. We knew something was wrong, but no one knew how serious nor to what extent.
My wife had the better frame of mind to join the other child in the pew who was now alone and concerned. She also later checked on the child and father. I wasn’t thinking well enough.
I had many emotions and thoughts during those tense moments….I think that I felt bad for the child and father, of course – everyone did – but I felt extra bad because I was ‘upset’ as so many silly, irrelevant and unimportant things that morning. Here I was, in some nice clothes, in a nice church, with a full stomach, with a job, with an income, with a healthy, happy family, surrounded by friends, complaining and grumbling about things I can’t really even recall now.
Things for the child turned out OK. Soon we found out that the child’s issue was over and that it wasn’t serious. The father later carried in the child and we spoke to him and found that things were better. They were checked out by an EMT and things were fine. We all breathed a sigh of relief.
Later at home, I apologized to my wife and we hugged. We both agreed that the incident gave us a nice slap in the face and a better perspective on things. I felt guilty, silly, and embarrassed for my earlier irritated mood.
So the Wreath? Every year we put up this huge wreath. When we moved into this house, a “friend” gave us this wreath. I use quotes because after I put up the wreath in the first year, I considered not calling them friends anymore. (just kidding)
The wreath is heavy, awkward and not fun to put up. The first year we put it up using a tall ladder in high winds. It must have looked pretty funny…a guy up on a ladder struggling with a large wreath, a woman below, and the two of them yelling back and forth in high winds…. The next year we tried something different. The following year, something different, again. We always improve a little.
However, putting up this awkward wreath on a small hook about 30 feet up is very much like a task one would find on AMAZING RACE. In fact I’m pretty sure they considered this as an event and a focus group told them it generated too much negative energy. I think the producers were concerned advertisers would pull their spots.
You see, my wife and I don’t always work like a well-oiled machine while hanging the wreath. In fact, after we complete the task each year, we often breathe a sigh of relief and know that our marriage is now stronger having survived “The Wreath”. The Wreath is a true test whether we should consider divorce, as it can strain the best of relationships, I think. But every year, we do well and we’re stronger for it.
Well this year, just before putting up the Wreath of Death and Divorce on the beautiful Sunday afternoon, we had the aforementioned incident a church. Suddenly hanging a decorative wreath our own beautiful home, which is warm, has electric and utilities, and considering those affected by SANDY, it seemed a whole lot better.
Any struggles on or about The Wreath were quckly dismissed as I continuously recalled my roller coaster of feelings in church, being concerned, sad, then relieved – and grateful for my own family’s good health.
Often times we get caught up in the little things, silly things don’t we? Hopefully we don’t need a slap in the face to help us remember how good we have it. I think that next time – and everytime, I look at the Wreath, I’ll recall the lesson from church and look at things a little different. Maybe my story can help you too.