Bad Husband! Bad Husband!

Anyone who has been a husband can attest to this fact: I have said many things that I wish I could have back. It’s not so much that I am malicious with my words; rather, men and women speak different dialects. Most of the time it has been a breakdown in interpretation – my words have had implications that I didn’t mean or foresee.
But then there is that other time. That time that I meant exactly what I said, unashamed and unrelenting. Don’t worry; I’ve since relented. But, the following is a story that we experienced right at the beginning of our missions experience.
Early in May of 2012 we found out that due to a shortage of income we would have to move out of our apartment and move in with some friends (Praise JESUS for friends!). We were immediately faced with a decision – get rid of all that we own…or find a place to store it. Being the minimalist that I am, I always prefer getting rid of something to lugging it around. (You know, like the dozen things you still have in your closet or garage that you know you should probably get rid of but you can’t because “my kids got it for me after so and so happened and it’s just such a precious memory” and you’ll keep taking it with you everywhere you move!)
Well, being a third-culture kid (subsequent explanation blog to follow) I have very little sentiment towards physical memories. I’ve never really owned anything long-term. I’ve had different beds, houses, dressers, toys, friends, bicycles…you name it and it has changed!
We ended up deciding to liquidate our assets…meaning that we got rid of stuff. It was much more difficult for Jenny because, well, she has a heart and I’m a bit robotic. Everything that we had was a memory to her – a memory of her childhood, or our first year of marriage, or our time in youth ministry. I knew that we were going to have to get rid of all of it, but she needed some time and needed to get rid of things in phases.
Well, this wasn’t working for me. In an effort to get rid of as much as possible as quickly as possible, I coined a phrase that will go down in husband infamy. This was “that thing” that I said and meant it with all of its force.
Are you ready? I mean it is really bad…
“Jenny, memories take up space!”
And then I repeated it as often as I possibly could at any moment that I deemed necessary.
“Memories take up space!”
“Memories take up space!”
“Memories take up space!”
“Memories take up space!”
Now, again, before I lose all my dignity, that’s all that I have ever known. Any memory that I have is not physical but mental. One of my favorite things to do when I’m at home is watch home videos from our childhood, probably because I don’t have any other physical memories. That’s the life of a third-culture kid. Also, I like to make fun of my brother, Mark.
We drove away from our now empty apartment. We had scrubbed every last corner for any trace of us living there. The apartment was cold and sterile and as we shut the door I released a small sigh of victory.
We climbed into our car, that I was anxious to sell, and for some reason I decided to be sympathetic. “Jenny, how are you doing with all of this?”
Without hesitation Jenny began tearing up and let out a whimper
MY POPPLE!”
“Your popple?”
“Yeah, my popple? I gave it away and I wish that I hadn’t!”
Feeling a bit guilty I asked, “Jenny, what in the world is a popple?” I had never seen this popplething.
*Still crying “It’s like a care bear but kind of uglier. My parents gave it to me when I was 7.”
“Well, why did you give it away?”
“I wasn’t going to, but then I pictured you saying ‘Jenny, memories take up space’ so I put it in the Good-Will pile and now it’s probably gone.”
Really, it was a gut-wrenching conversation. Seeing your wife turn into the little girl that she once was and then realizing that you ripped that away from her is painful, to say the least.
Don’t worry; the story ends well. Jenny’s birthday was a couple of months away. I quickly hopped onto eBay and found 3 different popples, one of them being identical to the one she got rid of. I will never be able to live this down, but finding the popple was a small gesture towards redemption.
The reason that I share this story is because there are so many tests and trials to this transition that I can’t even begin to explain – some of them humorous, and others not. Our marriage has been tried and galvanized. Our faith has been tested and strengthened. We are soon entering into the most difficult part – the actual transition. Your prayers have carried us through thus far, and we ask that you continue to pray for us as we move forward.

Also, may I encourage you, get rid of that stuff in your closet, someone else could use it!
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2 thoughts on “Bad Husband! Bad Husband!

  1. Awesome, Terrible husband! Letting go of what we have known is a wonderful and scary thing to do … together. Whatever you do, do it together. Don't be surprised if God doesn't have 100 fold Popples waiting for you around the corner.

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