On Friday, June 29th, 2012 Eric and I, and much of the United States, experienced a derecho. A derecho is a powerful windstorm that blows wind straight through an area, unlike a tornado that blows wind in circle, exceeding at least 60 miles per hour (ours was around 75 miles per hour). To my knowledge I have never gone through such a storm and I hope I never do again.
I was on the phone with my dad when Eric came in and said that the wind was going crazy outside. About that time, the lights went out. That wouldn’t have been such a big deal except for the fact that we were going through the worst heat wave yet this year (temperatures over 100?). To add insult to injury, we were the only street in our neighborhood to lose power. So, while we lay on the bed with our faces pressed on the window screen, praying for a breeze to blow through, our neighbors (right next to us, on a different street power grid) were enjoying AC, light, and television. One side of my mind told me that even without power we were so much better off than the majority of the world, and the other side of my mind was screaming like a toddler, “Give me back my AC and TV!!! Gimme, gimme, gimme!!!”
After realizing how widespread and devastating this storm had been, I felt somewhat guilty for my frustration at losing my comfort and entertainment. We were blessed to have a friend let us stay at her place for a night before we decided to pack up and head to North Carolina (one state south) to visit my parents for the duration of the outage. We were headed to sweet air conditioning.
About an hour before arriving at my parents’ house (after driving four hours), I noticed beautiful lightning in the distance. Then, half an hour before arriving at my parents, my mom called and said that a terrible storm had come through their town and… they had lost power. For a moment I thought she was joking. When I realized she wasn’t, all I could do was laugh weakly – crying would’ve done no good. It seemed like someone was playing a joke on us.
We finished driving to my parents’ house and slept in the same heat we were trying to avoid. Power was restored the following morning to their house. Once the air was back on and our phones were charged, all felt right with the world. You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone. Needless to say, during the fiasco of packing and unpacking at one place, and packing and unpacking somewhere else, Eric and I had several opportunities to get on each other’s nerves. We were positively grouchy at times. When I am cool, well fed, and in comfortable surroundings, I’m a generally pleasant person. Take all those amenities away and watch me turn into a roaring lion.
It’s situations like these that bring us back to the realities of our heart. We all have situations that bring out the lion in us (what brings out the lion in you?). Maybe you don’t get snippy when you’re hot or hungry, but you do struggle with something. Maybe you cry uncontrollably when you are taken out of your comfort zone. Perhaps you stuff your feelings until you cannot stuff anymore, only to explode over seemingly small inconveniences. Whatever your personality, you have a breaking point. You have your vices and the person you marry will also have his or her vices. When you marry him or her, you are marrying all of his or her habits, personality traits, and idiosyncrasies. When I’m tempted to be angry at Eric for his shortcomings, I am quickly reminded of my own.
We stopped to get gas on the way to see family. Eric hopped out to pump the gas and I cracked the windows for a little air. After he finished pumping, I turned the car on and went to roll up the windows – just as Eric grabbed the car door to steady himself. I ended up smashing the tip of his ring finger up in the window and he let out a painful yell. He knew that I didn’t do it on purpose, but he slammed the door, threw the receipt down, and snarled, “Let’s go!”
So, we take off down the road – him in pain and me in tears. I was hurt at how he reacted, but I couldn’t help but think of my own reactions to pain. I knew in my heart I would’ve treated him in a similar fashion if he had caused me that much pain – accident or no accident. Your future spouse won’t be perfect, just as you are not perfect.
Remember, when you are dating that you are putting your best foot forward – and so is your date. Just because he or she seems perfect in a nice restaurant or at the movies does not mean he or she will be an angel in the middle of a power outage in June – and it’s not fair to expect perfection either.
Remember to apply grace to your future spouse in those difficult times. That sweetheart of yours is human and he or she will occasionally act unpleasantly, and at times, break your heart. Grace and understanding are necessary. Divorce attorneys would go broke if more grace was applied between husbands and wives.
Have you experienced your future spouse’s attitude during trying circumstances? Has your future spouse seen how you act when you’re uncomfortable?