My pastor talks about Calvary love. All it means is to love with a love that Jesus did. This kind of love points to the Cross. And what's at the Cross? Sacrifice. Others focused. Love not based on circumstance or how we feel. Well, this sort of love was on repeat throughout our whole trip, and we didn't expect it.
My husband and I have dealt with some major issues. We have dug deep, and then dug even deeper still. We have dealt with all the hard stuff you can possibly imagine. The one thing we haven't, is a terminal illness. We've gotten down and dirty with every problem, because we know that on the other side of it, there is restoration. Now I'm not saying that he was gung-ho about all of this. It was I who was stern about facing all these issues and dealing with them head on. With most couples, it's rare to find both people who are ready and willing to face problems/issues straight on. One is usually the pursuer of, and one usually, well, is not. I was the pursuer. I have been this way ever since I can remember. I am odd---I am not afraid of conflict. I, in fact, like it. Because it means we are getting down to the nitty gritty of a problem or issue, and if we stick it out we will resolve it. Which then means, realness, rawness, authenticity, and restoration! Which is what we were created to live in. The problems are just visible evidence that something is wrong inside. And I like to figure that out. Call me crazy.
This took years. And I am not exaggerating. Our marriage started to go south in 2005. For that first whole year my husband did deal with the issue at hand. It was wonderful and beautiful. But then he shut down in 2006, and didn't fully resurface until like 2011 or so. I had some to do with him going into hiding--I had poor habits and little tools to know how to handle his behaviors. I handled it mostly wrong until I pursued my own heart and got some counseling. After a 5 or 6 year stretch of no fruit or change, we finally started to come together and were able to work and deal with the issues collectively.
I can honestly say that we are on the other side of a 7 year wilderness experience. There was a time when I didn't think I would actually be able to say that.
While on vacation in Colorado, when I asked my husband to hold onto my phone in the forest because it was starting to sprinkle, he said sure and I didn't ask for it back until hours later when we were on Pearl Street, in Boulder. We were getting out of the car to go to our restaurant destination. As were were getting out of the car, I asked him if I could have my phone back. Well, then you can imagine what went down.
He looked so befuzzled--is that even a word?! I thought, oh no, oh no. As a Lay Counselor all I could think of was "distress tolerance" and "emotion regulation", but it wasn't working, at least at first. I stormed down pearl street, going passed our restaurant several times LOL, all along the way making wise cracks at my husband. I was furious and in shock. I didn't want to accept that it could be true.
Geez, you would think I was talking about a death in the family or something.
We finally got to the pub we were going to, and he was sad and down, and probably afraid, and I was angry. I had so much I wanted to say but I knew I couldn't. So I went to the bathroom. It is there that I continued to literally have a fit like a toddler. They had Pangea Organics hand wash and all I could think of when I was using it as I stomped my feet and cried was "WHY CAN'T I JUST HAVE THIS MOMENT IN THIS COOL TOWN WITH THIS AWESOME ORGAINC HAND SOAP WITHOUT BEING INFURIATED ABOUT MY PHONE BEING GONE--IT'S NOT FAIR." Pretty funny, right?
At that moment I heard the still small voice--"If you are this angry and hurt and feel as awful as you do, think about the way your husband feels right now, it's even worse." Wow, as thankful as I am that I hear from God on a daily basis, it's when I hear things like this that I feel so resistant. "But but---"
I get back to the table and Kevin holds my hand and looks in my eyes and tells me how sorry he is and how awful he feels. I told him, thanks, and I appreciate it, but I still need some time to cool off. The rest of the meal we were mainly silent, which is better than words I'd regret later. Like I said, Calvary love. On repeat.
This was the theme of our trip. Most people would think that losing my cell phone had some sort of plan for me to learn how to not be distracted. Or to learn how to be more in the moment. Well I'm telling you, I am a most "in the moment" person I can think of. I am not saying I am never distracted by the use of my phone. Of course I am. But it's not a problem in my life or in my relationships. Would I like to use it less, yes. But is this a lesson learned in distractions and intentinallity, no.
For me it was a lesson learned in a couple different areas.
1. We/I am extremely spoiled. For the most part we get what we want, when we want it and how we want it. We do what we want, when we want to and how we want to. We hardly are inconvenienced and we hardly have to wait for anything anymore. Even at the markets, they don't hardly have us wait in lines anymore, they are usually opening up another lane asap so we don't have to wait. Oh my.
I acted like a spoiled brat for about an hour when I discovered my phone was gone--and I cried twice. I think we all have some attachment issues when it comes to things. God is pushing me beyond this. I need to hold on to stuff looser and looser.
2. Although in my marriage, I have dealt with the "big guns" of deep, hard stuff, does not mean I am a pro at the "small stuff". I need to continue to manage my emotions in the day to day annoying things. Like my husband, on the trip, brought his swim trunks for the trip, but did not bring them to the beach the day we went. WHAT?! Help me understand that? It's in those moments of furry that I want to spaz out and say cruel things, but God is calling me higher. Higher out of that way of doing life. Learning to regulate my emotions well and stay mindful. Mindful and meaningful in the moments you want to lose it.
Calvary love is something we choose. But we need practice. Think about it next time something happens that really, truly doesn't matter so much in the grand scheme of life. No one wants to admit that they are spoiled, or bratty. But the way out of that is by admitting it and becoming mindful of it so you can choose a different way to act. And it's not about shame if you do act like a brat. I mean I know God was not condemning me because of the way I acted, His grace is always perfect and plentiful. But acting that way doesn't match His spirit. It doesn't match what God wants for my life. It's not what He wants for my interactions with not only my husband but with anyone.
Choosing Calvary love is choosing to treat someone not based on how they have treated you or based on something they have done or not done. Calvary love is loving a person who has lost your phone and packed their swim trunks even though they did not go swimming with you. It doesn't mean you can't, in a healthy, direct way tell them that you are upset or affected by what they have done. Absolutely. It just means you don't retaliate.
Calvary love. On repeat. Put the needle on the record.