This past week found me in a bit of trouble with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage... well, more than normal. It has become rather normal for me to be in trouble with her. No matter how hard I try "not to be," it always is "to be."
This week was a high point for me getting into trouble. I never relish getting into a pickle with her, but sometimes it is unavoidable.
All week long, I had been murmuring and complaining about how hot it was. "I've never seen such hot weather," I grumbled. "I don't know how long I can take this hot weather."
You would think that someone my age would have learned long ago that some things should not be vocalized. This is America, and we all have the right to speak our mind although much of the time we should not speak our mind aloud; at least, not to the point that someone, especially someone living under the same roof, can hear you. I have found that the thing that enhances romance is the sounds of silence.
I guess it was getting a little wearisome with all my complaining, but after all, the weather was really hot.
Then, she looked at me and said, "If I hear you complain about the weather one more time, I'm... I'm... I'm..." The look on her face indicated that she was not at a loss for words; she was just trying to control herself and save herself from early widowhood.
I truly respect people who have the ability to control themselves, especially the people who live under our roof.
I almost said something, but for some reason I had a flash of temporary sanity. I said nothing, but smiled. I am not boasting here, but I am really good at saying nothing. Even when talking, my wife tells me I am saying nothing.
Saying nothing has gotten me out of many a jam, particularly with my wife. There are times when husbands and wives should sit down and have a rather invigorating conversation. Then there are times when the husband should shut up. I never know which time is which.
It was then that my wife laid out the facts for me to evaluate. How she can remember everything is simply beyond me. However, how do I know she is actually remembering things as they were and not making them up?
It seems, according to her impeccable recollection, that a few months ago I was complaining about how cold it was and anxious for the hot weather to come. "You were just as grumpy about how cold it was as you are now about how hot it is."
Then she put her hands on her hip and looked at me with "that look," and said, "I don't mind you complaining about one or the other but I really do mind you complaining about everything. You're going to have to make up your mind whether you hate the cold or the heat, and then stick to it."
That put a new light on the situation, and a new burden on me. Now, according to her latest admonition, I need to choose the heat or the cold. I am tempted, although I know better, to complain about this. I do not think it is fair that I have to choose one or the other. I think I should be able to hate both the cold and the heat.
However, here is the problem. If I choose to complain about the heat, then what do I do in the wintertime when it gets cold? Faced with a real dilemma I took it to my good wife and asked, "Can I hate the heat in the summer and hate the cold in the winter, if I alternate it every other year?" To me this sounded like a very reasonable request. After all, I was accommodating her request and getting in my share of complaining.
"If you would spend as much time thinking of positive things to say as you do complaining it would be absolutely wonderful."
But how can you think of something positive about the heat when you are sweltering? And, how can you think about something positive about the cold when your bones are shivering to death? Mistakenly I told my wife my dilemma.
"I think I have you figured out," she said. "You're positively negative about everything."
There is only one thing worse than having your wife figure you out. There must be, but I cannot think of any thing right now.
I will not say my wife is right, only that she is not wrong. I must say I have a tendency to complain about everything. Some people can see the silver lining in every cloud whereas I see a cloud over every silver lining. I guess it is a person's perspective.
Thinking along this line, I remembered a verse in the Bible. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8 KJV).
Some people (like me) see a glass as half empty while others see it as half-full. There are those few souls (like my wife) who are thankful that there is any water in the glass of all.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship,