That Is Love
Today I (the proverbial back of a camel) was broken by a straw. The straw was a mess from the dog. I told him he wasn’t coming in for a long time (He’s sleeping at my feet now), and I went to bed to cry. After a week of dealing with people’s complaints at work and renovations to the house with workmen tracking in mud, cutting my electricity, and turning off my plumbing for hours, I had already noticed that I was sensitive to any disappointment or frustration. The added mess from the (goofy, innocent) dog just overwhelmed me.
I’m not very good at feeling sorry for myself. Pouting rarely gets me anywhere, so while there were still some tears, I was out of bed after about two minutes. I changed into yoga pants, pulled my hair into a ponytail, and started cursing between my tears, attempting to do something about the mess that was overwhelming me. So what does pouting, a dirty house, and tears have to do with love?
I have my own personal ‘Stedman’ who has been a part of my life in one form or another for years – even before kids. This afternoon, it was just S-man and me at home when I had my melt down. He didn’t get mad at me for throwing a fit. He didn’t go to the gym to escape my crazed cleaning. He didn’t zone out on his iPad. Before I even left the bedroom, S-man fed the dog and put him outside, moving all the doggie stuff out of my way. Without a word to encourage my tantrum, he started sweeping the living room. As I scrubbed the kitchen top to bottom as only an angry woman can, he brought me the steam cleaner for the floor. I had moved on to scouring the bathroom before he uttered his first word, asking only if it was ok for him to vacuum downstairs. That’s a wise man. That is love.
S-man doesn’t talk about love much. He doesn’t clean at my house much either. He abhors tantrums. Acts of service is his love language – that and gifts. I don’t get emotional often and he wouldn’t know how to deal with it anyway, but he did recognize at least my situational stressor and care enough to help me get it under control. Sometimes it’s the fact that someone cares that makes the impact even more than their efforts to help fix the problem. Because he cared I was able to pull it together without putting everything away because we are still renovating and down a room (oh the clutter!) and before anyone else could see that crazed mascara-smeared look in my eye. Only the ones that really love us get to see the mascara smeared by tears angry face, right?
For the record, I did have to clean up the bathroom again after he left, but I’ll forgive him – this time.