“Do you want me to go with you?”
It was a simple question in a complicated conversation.
I’ll back up.
There’s been a lot going on lately. To start with, there’s work. My job has its stresses.
And as a few of you know, my father went in for heart surgery two weeks ago today. At 89, I’m just glad the doctors wanted to do the operation and not merely treat his condition medically.
Then there was the four-day conference I was helping to organize. It finished day before yesterday. I had two meetings to prepare for on the first day, and a class to teach on Saturday. Plus there were other classes and meetings for me to attend as well.
A lot going on, as I said. Pick any two of them and I probably would not be writing this post. But all three together became overwhelming.
I started feeling the stress a few weeks ago, I can see that now. That was when work started getting more intense and my dad was diagnosed with a bad valve in his aorta. I’d been working on the conference for months as part of the planning committee charged with creating a program of classes and speakers that would draw judges from around the state to one site for four days.
Then Dad went into surgery. The report afterward was very good, and he was discharged three days later. My sister was able to stay with him at his place a few nights. But then she had to return to work and I took over.
So on the days that I was supposed to be preparing for the meetings I had to run – paying attention to final details for the conference I was helping to program and finishing the presentation for the class I was scheduled to teach – I was now going to go out of town and stay with my father for three nights.
The stress came to a head.
Trouble sleeping, headaches, appetite off, mood changes, you name it and I experienced it in the week my dad was in the hospital and into the following week as I packed up to go to his place. The timing meant, in fact, that I was not only packing for a few nights with him but for the conference too.
And it meant a full week away from home, away from my wife.
“Do you want me to go with you?” she asked.
What she meant was:
Do you want me to get a sub for school this week?
Do you want me to stay with you in your father’s one-bedroom apartment for three nights?
Do you want me to come to the conference and be there waiting when you get out of meetings and classes and programs?
Do you want me to drop everything and help? Because you know I will.
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Yes, oh please Lord, yes!
Actual answer: “Thanks, but I don’t think you need to.”
And what I meant was:
I know that as important as the kids at school are to you, you would tend to me.
I know you’d sleep on an air mattress on the living room floor with me at Dad’s place and never complain.
I know that you’d find something to do while I’m in session at the conference, and always be ready for me when I get out.
I know that you’d drop everything for me.
And here’s what else I meant:
The best woman I know is the woman I married.
So to the question posed in the verse at the bottom of this post: Who can find such a wife? God can. Who did he let marry her? Me.
I am rich.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10.)