My Wife Gives Me Money: thoughts on ordinary graces
August 6, 2008 § 3 Comments
The other day, preparing to leave the house, I reached for my wallet, only to find that Katherine had slipped a few dollars into one of its folds. She does that from time to time – sometimes because I ask her to, but usually because she has this internal alarm-calculator that seems to alert her at just the right moment that I need some cash.
You have to understand that this is the way our life works. I often joke that if something unexpected and tragic were to happen to me the family would go on as usual, but if we lost Katherine we would have a crisis on our hands. I don’t know who the checks get written to or where the spare checks are stored. And this doesn’t include the bills she pays online!
Now before you are tempted to psychoanalyze our marriage, spare yourself – it is our system – and it has worked for 26 years. I do the lawn and she pays the bill for the gas that goes into the mower – trust me, it works for us.
Actually I rarely have more than one blank check on me. Another of our internal jokes is that we call this check my ‘bullet,’ so named after Barney Fife’s sole bullet. Barney was the physically frail and socially challenged, inept, but loveable deputy in Andy of Mayberry. He was only allowed to have one bullet at a time because he couldn’t handle the temptation to wield his gun in front of people, often with terrifying results – and whenever he carelessly shot it into the ground while putting his gun back into the holster, the privilege was revoked and his bullet confiscated for a spell.
So every now and then, Katherine gives me a bullet. You would think that the check is for purchasing a new car, the latest 3-wood, or world peace – something grandiose that should accompany my rare one ‘bullet,’ and sometimes I do get it with the hope of something special, but in truth, it is more likely to be used to buy exotic items such as dental floss or paper towels on the way home from work. You get the picture…
The thing is that I just take the money Katherine leaves – maybe say, ‘thanks,’ and then go on my way. But for some reason, the other day when I saw what she had left me, I thought about all the ordinary graces God puts in my path – and then at that moment I felt grateful.
It isn’t that they are especially what we may naturally perceive to be the ‘biggies,’ like the sudden ability to forgive everyone who ever wronged us, or a clear path of the future, or the long-awaited answer to a daily prayer that had spanned years – you know, those graces that we long for and hope for and then celebrate when they come. No, it is an ordinary grace – one gracious kindness among many that, lined up together, as pearls on a magnificent string, add up to a lifetime of love and affection from a Father who delights to care for those who are His.
And it dawned on me that nothing in the Kingdom of God is mundane – that every grace is mountainous and every kindness amazing, which I think is why Jesus used the ordinary to describe the majestic in Matthew 6 as He encouraged His disciples (and us) to let the simple provisions of the Father (‘lillies of the field’) to be the trail that leads us past despair on the journey.
When all you have is one ‘bullet,’ this is really Good News.