My wife, Terry, is truly an impressive person as far as I am concerned.
She is harmless as a dove, but wise as a serpent. She is subtle in a delicate and precise manner so as to be difficult to analyze. But, I have finally come to see through her veiled consistency on one particular strategy with which she gets by in dealing with me.
For the longest time, I used to think I was the big dog at our house. All I had to do was bark here and woof there to prove who was in charge of our household to get things done that needed to get done. The impressiveness of Terry is how she has long let me think that way, and how wisely she has constructed her ruse in my thinking.
But, I have come to realize — more so lately, I think — that the truth of the matter is I am actually the trained seal at the house. All she has had to do is to throw in a few snacky-snacks to keep me happily clapping my front fins and sitting nicely on my little box.
For example, Terry likes her car to be clean. When it was sunny one day recently, she approached me, placed both her hands affectionately on my chest, planted a sweet kiss on my lips, and with a cute smile said, “We need to wash the car today.”
So, I set things up for us to wash the car. The only problem was that it was freezing cold! Although I had warm water in the bucket, my hands got to feeling like blocks of ice. I got to shivering real bad, because you cannot wash a car without getting wet. By the time the chore was done, I was colder than a brass toilet seat on the shady side of Mt. Everest.
But, then I remembered. She had said “we” need to wash the car today, and I started the task because I know what “we” means. Just like she had said “we” need to put money in this birthday card, to which I contributed generously because I know what “we” means. Just like she had said “we” need to get a gallon of milk as she put the keys of the car softly into my hand.
I got to thinking about the myriad of times she has said “we” need to do this, or “we” need to do that, all the while giving me clear impression that “she” was going to help, or that “she” was going to contribute to, or that “she” was going to partner with me.
It has finally occurred to me that “we” means me.
When did our discourse of the definition “we” change to mean me? I am sure that this ruse is something she came to realize at some point with which she could get by with me. She could get me to get things done that needed to be done while letting me think “we” are doing it. Does that make sense?
It does, however, get us to consider a certain spiritual matter: “we” do the same thing type of thing to God.
Case in point: we say to God, “We need to get more money.” What we actually are saying is that you, God, should supply the winning numbers, and that I will take what you have supplied for me so I can play the lottery. Praying that God help you win the lottery is ridiculous because God does not want you to depend on the providence of man, but on His Providence.
We say to God, “You, God, heal me of my cancer, and I will keep on living the way I want to live.” Too many people want the good of God without commitment to the good God.
Such a strategy may be effective with me, but God is not fooled at all. He will remember every time you tried it just to get your way instead of doing things His way, and He will hold you accountable for it.
In the meantime, do I plan on calling Terry’s hand on her ruse? Nah, I love the woman. It is fun to cooperate with her little game. Besides, I like the snacky-snacks.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.