Imagine if you will...
Early in the morning hours while a husband gets ready for his work day, he discovers schools will have a two hour delay. He proceeds to lovingly turn off all the alarms in the house so his wife and children can sleep in. "Oh, if only I could too" he says to himself.
This husband decides not to send a text or wake his wife to inform her, fearing she may be unable to fall back asleep. "She'll check the news when she wakes" he says and softly kisses his sleeping wife goodbye.
Minutes tick off the clock. The darkness and the rain have kept the sleeping wife and children tucked snugged in their beds a little longer than on a normal school day. The house is quiet and peaceful until the wife wakes to find twenty-seven minutes left on the clock before she would need to get the children to school. Panic dashes through the house only because nobody is aware of the delay. The children blame mischievous alarm clocks for never...alarming.
"What the heck?", grumbles the boy who is notorious for waking before any alarm.
"This is the second time my alarm didn't turn on!", explains the girl with a tone of annoyance.
"I'm so sorry! I just woke up too. Let's just get our things done quickly.", directs the wife.
Thankfully, the wife's social media addiction draws her to her phone as she sees a notification from her church "How has the 2 hour delay affected your day?"
"Delay?" she says. Only seconds later does she discover the school has indeed delayed the start time by two hours because of freezing rain. Relief floods in immediately but as with any flood, there is also debris.
Exhausted from the night before the wife begins to speculate her husband had turned off the alarms and remarks, "I woke the children for nothing? And I could've been sleeping too? At least he could've left me a note, a text, anything!"
The love and gentleness her husband had shown by turning off the nuisance of a morning alarm became cloudy and muddy with the debris of negative emotions and words. She was unable to see his good intentions and instead found fault. As he called to say good morning, she rebukes him "What have you done!"
"I didn't want to wake you. I thought for sure you would have checked the news first thing." he replies apologetically.
"And panic is better? Thanks but no thanks.", she retorts.
And so the morning began. While their children laughed and played with the slow down of the morning, the wife reflected on her husband's actions. "If only I could have slept in" she says as she drifts back off to sleep.
Yes, it's not a pretty one but it is mine. Actually the only part that isn't true is when I rebuked my husband by saying "What have you done!". We had a normal conversation and ended it with our I love you's. But that is not the point...nor the lesson of this story.
Even though we were civil towards each other, I am confident to say my husband probably felt rebuked and disrespected for his decision. From his perspective, he acted on information he received and made a loving gesture only for it to be received without a thank you. Regardless of whether he should have sent a text or even left a note, the fact remains that words can bring life...or bring someone down.
It might have been more challenging to say "Thank you honey for turning off those alarms. It was a big help and I do appreciate it. Maybe next time you could also leave me a note in the bathroom?".
Wouldn't I have rather received those words instead of what I did say or didn't say?
That is our daily challenge, isn't it? Words we say or don't say. Think on it. Is there someone you've been meaning to thank? Give them a call or send them a text. Or really blow their minds and send them a handwritten note.
A small gesture of kindness, no matter how difficult or trivial, can breathe life into a person.