I sit here writing this post and my husband is to my right making a pot of coffee for his clients. We rode into town together for his counseling appointments while I sit in the conference room to work. His right arm strapped in his Robocop Sling, healing from his surgery three weeks ago, makes his entire right torso immobile except for his finger tips – which are hardly useful without the rest of his arm. He has a hard time separating the coffee filters one handed. He uses his solitary hand to scoop the coffee, dump it into the filter, and turn on the coffee pot. He’s having a difficult time. Normal tasks take him longer yet, at his request, I refrain from jumping to his every need. “I need to learn to do things myself” he says. It’s not his pride that keeps him from receiving help, but rather, self-determination. Admirable.
He continues to work around the office, getting situated for his afternoon counseling sessions. I help him with a few tasks – stapling papers, writing a reminder on a post it, filling up a pitcher of water – and as I sit back down to continue my work, I stare at him as if he’s a mirage in the distance, observing…him.
I’ve never felt closer to my husband. Four weeks ago when both arms were active and hugs were given with two unabandoned limbs, if he had asked me to make him a scrambled egg sandwich his request was met with an eye roll and a sigh. I’m ashamed to confess it, but I’m an incredibly selfish spouse. It’s always seemed easier for Aaron to serve, as if it comes second nature to put me before himself. I tell him all the time, “You were born to be married because you’re so good at it.”
Me? I promise to take his clothes to the dry cleaners and don’t do it for days because I find something more important to do. I snap at him when he asks me what I wan’t him to fix me for dinner. I screen his calls if I’m in the middle of something important with the intent on calling him as soon as I can but then completely forget to call him back. I take my shower first and use all the hot water without thinking how that affects him. I go grocery shopping and buy food that only I like. And those are the things that have only happened recently.
He’s so kind to show me grace in the middle of my mistakes and he never brings up past transgressions. I’m not a bad person and I know I’m a good wife in other areas (I constantly brag on how proud I am of him, I talk him up to people, I pray for him before I pray for myself). But there’s one thing I’ve lacked in our entire relationship that has never come second nature to me and that is…serving my husband and putting his needs before my own.
I was very scared about his surgery. Not necessarily because of the surgery itself, but because I knew what kind of sacrifices it would take to help him. And not that I didn’t want to help him – I was afraid that I would fail to serve him in his time of most need.
The day of his surgery he came out of anesthesia talking about pecan pie. “Pecan pie sounds soooooooooo good right now” he kept saying over and over again. Lesli had just given me her mom’s recipe for pecan pie and I planned on making it for Thanksgiving dinner a few days later. When we got home he kept talking about pecan pie and I had an internal battle with myself…
“You have more important things to do than to bake him a pie, Hannah. He probably won’t remember the pie anyway, he so loopy. It’s a lot of effort getting everything together to make that pie. If you use what you have to bake it today, you’ll have to go to the store again to get more ingredients to make another one for Thanksgiving. And who wants to go to the store the day before Thanksgiving?”
But something in me wouldn’t let it go. “Do you want me to bake you a pecan pie?” I asked, my body and mind exhausted from the thought of it, but my heart eager to please. “You don’t have to. I know you have a lot to do” he said.
Normally, that would have been my way out. But my heart led the way. I pulled out everything I needed and baked him that dang pie.
Baking that simple pie for my husband is something that can seem so small for an outsider. Even when he posted a photo on his Facebook of the pie I baked him, passers-by could have just thought, “Oh that’s nice.”
In no way am I trying to brag on myself, but for me, it was a beginning step in setting a precedent for a new season in our lives. I didn’t know it at the time I baked the pie but things that have happened in the last three weeks, have helped me realize that was the Lord prompting me to serve my husband in preparation for what’s coming. In this season the Lord is teaching me that we’re a team. That’s a fact that I’ve always known, but it has become revelation to me. A revelation that I’m putting into practice with His help, strength, and patience. I serve Aaron and Aaron serves me. I feel it in my spirit that it’s important for the battles that we’re facing in the future, that we band together and unselfishly serve each other with abandon and without ulterior motives.
And it’s not just about what’s going on in my heart because of Aaron’s surgery; This season of our lives is hard. It is deeply bittersweet. There’s so much life and beauty gained from so much loss in several areas of our lives – health, career, adoption…certain things I’m not able to go into right now. But behind the tears that I’ve cried frequently in this season, is a sense of hope. A peace that in my spirit I know that God has us in the palm of His hand, is marking out our steps, and leading us in the direction He’s taking our lives.
I thought Aaron’s shoulder surgery was just a means to get him better. But really, it was just as much surgery for my heart and preparation for what’s to come.