By Dr. James L. Snyder
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were in a little bit of a tussle this past week.
I was in the study area of our home doing some kind of work when my wife came in, looked around with both hands on her hips and said, “What is all of this mess about?”
The problem I was having at the time was her definition of “mess.” I have found throughout my married life that we differ on definitions.
It is true, we use the same words, but those words have different meanings. My wife has the habit of finely defining her words to the letter. I, on the other hand, just generalize.
If you ask her how much money she had in her purse, she would say, “I have $21.19.”
If you asked me the same question (eliminate the purse) I would say, “I have around $20.”
Continuing her conversation, she said, “What are we going to do about this mess?”
When she said “we” I was confused. I knew I wasn’t going to do anything about what she called the mess in my room and I didn’t know if she had somebody going to help her do something about the mess in my room.
For the life of me, I could not see any mess. I had no idea what she was talking about. If there were a legitimate mess in my room, I would’ve spotted it. I did not know what she was talking about.
Staring at her and she staring back, she finally said, “We need to clean up this room!”
I suppose everybody has a different way of ordering their life. I like to order my life by having everything spread out in front of me. And, for any reason, if I can’t find something, it simply means I don’t really need that something.
I have known my wife to search all day for one thing, then when she found it, it was too late to do anything about it.
Life is rather easy for me along this line. If I don’t have it, I don’t need it. I only need what is right in front of me and what I can access right away.
Looking down at the floor, I said rather softly, “I don’t think we need to clean up this room at all.”
“What did you say?”
At that point, I knew I was in some kind of trouble, although what, I wasn’t sure. So I repeated what I had to say.
“I don’t think we need to clean up this room at all. In fact,” I said as slowly as possible, “I like it the way it is.”
I know my wife was trying to help me get my room organized so I could find whatever I needed when I needed it. That’s just not the way my clock ticks. I’m grateful that my clock ticks at all for that matter.
Then a light bulb clicked on the top of my head. I looked at her and said, “Let’s clean up this room and then I will help you clean up the mess in your room.”
As she turned her back and left my room, I couldn’t help but think of a verse of Scripture, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31).
You may not like my mess but I certainly enjoy it.