I am traveling this week for speaking events & didn’t have time to write an original Monday Musings. Instead, I pulled one of my favorite excerpts for my latest book, , Lovin’ With Grit & Grace.
I glanced out the front window at the disheveled sight before me. A few years prior, we had purchased thirty acres of God’s beautiful Southern country, and how did my husband go about tending this beautiful land of ours? He littered it with “treasures” he either found or bought or were given to him, including a weather- beaten, rusted-down desk that he took from an old barn he helped demolish in exchange for the paraphernalia inside. Those treasures had to go somewhere, and that somewhere became my front yard.
The sight of this desk, not only irritated me, it grated on my very last nerve on this particular day. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t move it someplace where it wouldn’t be such an eyesore. I mean, really; did it have to be the first thing people noticed as they drove up our driveway? Or maybe that wasn’t fair. Perhaps the first think they noticed was the broken washing machine next to it. I rolled my eyes for my own satisfaction.
I said to him, louder this time, “Darling husband, that desk is so ugly, and it makes us look like we don’t care about cleanliness or order or ever patriotism! Or that we’re too lazy to bring the trash to the dump. It looks tacky, and it doesn’t reflect well on me as the wife and mother running our home because Southern women generally have their homes in order.”
He glanced my way, slightly annoyed that I was interrupting his show but said nothing.
“Honey, do you understand what I’m saying?” I continued, not at all deterred by his lack of enthusiasm regarding the conversation. “Southern women take care of their yards. Their porches are immaculate with big, beautiful pots overflowing with flowers, and the monogram their front doors, and people oohh and aahh over the beauty that these women present through their homes. The Ronnes are the opposite – people drive up to our house, and they see this ugly, old, broken desk in our front yard, and it doesn’t reflect well on my transplanted Southern homemaking abilities. I would move it if I could! I shouted.
“It’s too heavy to move, but I can burn it!” I threatened.
“Don’t burn the desk,” he calmly replied, looking intently into the madness staring back at him.
“Fine,” I agreed. ” I won’t burn the desk, but we need to come up with a solution soon.”
I left the room and let my frustration hang thickly in the air.
I considered what was really going on in my heart. Was it truly about a desk? Or was something deeper at play?
Two days later I received a text. “We lost him.”
A good friend’s brother-in-law unexpectedly died after only a few short months of fighting cancer. He was in his forties. His wife stepped away from his sickbed, and in that instant, he left earth. I had only made two freezer meals for the family. His widow hadn’t even had the opportunity to get sick of freezer burned casseroles before she lost her husband.
More fatherless children. Children like mine had once been. Another widow with a bleeding heart as mine had once ached.
Beastly cancer always getting the best of people.
People dying; people hurting; people in hospitals; children, widows, widowers left in the wake; and old desks left in front yards. All of it broken.
God, why can’t he just move that stupid desk?!
Something I could control.
Something we could control.
Something that doesn’t really matter.
Like my own frantic actions in 2010 as I angrily attempted to rip every single weed out of a flower garden with tears streaming down my face. Every single weed representing a cancer cell. Every single weed representing a perception of control.
But only a perception.
Always a perception and nothing more.
The old hymn “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” was playing in the background as I gently stirred the pea soup simmering away on the stove for that evening’s dinner.
I got this, a voice whispered.
It’s not the desk.
It’s not the cancer.
It’s not even your husband’s stubborn ways.
I got this, the voice whispered again.
I’ve got cancer.
I’ve got your husband.
I’ve got your anger.
I even have your perception of control.
I’ve got it all in the palm of my hand.
I awake the next morning and glanced out the window. The desk had been moved into the barn and someone came to pick up the washing machine later that day, convinced they could fix it. I was thrilled that it was now another wife’s problem and no longer mine.
Lovin’ With Grit & Grace is now available & each copy comes with a FREE 7-week study guide. This book would make a fantastic resource for a marriage group or event. If you would like to review a book for consideration, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also offer bulk discount purchase options. Additionally, I would SO appreciate a review on Amazon if you’ve already read the book! Thank you!