I admit sometimes my eyes get a little green when it comes to what my husband gets to do and what I have to do (as if it’s not obvious from the verb choices there), but it’s always been like this.
I remember when I was a mom with toddlers and babies, staying home most of the day but not having a single. minute. alone. I remember changing diapers and wiping crumbs and stepping on Legos. Remember the nursing schedule and the time-outs and the physical exhaustion of lugging kids and those infant baby carriers that I swear weigh seven times as much as any newborn. And I can still recall how often my husband, Matt, who was a student pastor at the time, would call to check in on me during the day, and after I whined a bit, he’d tell me about the coffee he had with this person or the project he got to work on by himself (alone!). And then he’d tell me about the lunch he got to have with such-and-such, at a real restaurant, with adult conversation and a decent entree someone else paid for, made and cleaned up.
And I remember saying, “Oh, that’s great,” with gritted teeth while I choked down another peanut butter sandwich at a table with screaming babies who spit out their creamed peas and toddlers who knocked over their juice cups.
And I remember last year, homeschooling my kids in SE Asia, where the radio station of my life seemed to get stuck on the same song again. I’d be trapped at home, unable to drive in a foreign country or play outside because it was a million-degrees-hot, battling attitudes and culture shock and loneliness, while my husband would be driving a scooter to meetings over $2 lunches at exotic cafes. With iced coffees.
“How ya doing, babe?”
“Fine, just really fine.” Teeth clenched again.
And then there’s the travel. He’s seen places with his eyes that I’ve only experienced on the postcards he’s sent me. He’s packed dozens of suitcases for dozens of mission trips all over the world, while I’ve juggled the kids, who usually get sick, in the same 0l’ house, as a single-mom for two weeks at a go. And while I do have moments of clarity, moments of sacrificial awareness– “this is my unique way to serve, my role as a mother trumps everything, after all”– I’m not gonna lie and say I don’t struggle with envy and bitterness sometimes. Especially when he goes and I stay.
Which, in the course of our 14 years of marriage, happens a lot.
And is happening this very week, as a matter of fact.
And then I remembered a story this week where a friend of Jesus wrestled like me. He was a big fisherman and Jesus had just given him the spoiler for the end of this guy’s life, and it wasn’t a happy one. Peter was going to die a violent death, just like Jesus himself endured. And Jesus drops this bomb on his friend, but he leaves out the excuses or the details or the even the “poor buddy’s”. Instead, Jesus’s next words are, “Follow me, (anyway).”
And Peter’s response? Well, it’s a little like mine– he immediately starts looking around.
“What about that guy over by the fire? Is he gonna die the same way? It won’t just be me, right, Jesus? He’ll suffer too since that’s only fair.”
And essentially Jesus responds with, “What business is it of yours how his story turns out? I’m talking about your story and I’m asking you to follow me, even though I promise you, you’ve got a lot of pain coming down the track.”
And I get Peter, I do, because I tend to rubber-neck- it quite a bit in my life.
I miss out on the goodness, the lessons and the glory of my story– even the at-home-wiping-noses one– because I’m obsessing over the “freedom” of my husband’s. I’m the Peter saying, “What about him?” while he’s still Jesus saying, “Don’t worry about him. You follow me, anyway.”
You. Follow. Me. Anyway.
And so, I’ll fold the laundry and pour the cereal. Listen to stories from the playground and make them do their homework. I’ll lug the trash to the curb Friday morning and fight trafficking by sitting at the same computer with the coffee I made myself.
I’ll keep my eyes up, instead of peripheral– always up, never. peripheral.
And I’ll recognize that while Matt is boarding airplanes and seeing the world, he’s probably Peter, too– glancing my way and asking God why he can’t just stay home.
Struggling with contentment yourself these days?