So once again we practiced our daily juggling and decided that he should stay home and exercise and I would visit my Mom alone. I had to practice Patience. Paul is a Deacon and a good one and I know that he needs to stay "in the saddle" after retirement, even if this causes repercussions - like his not exercising and having to catch up - in other areas of our life.
Paul "out of the saddle" would not be a happy camper under foot, believe me. Mutual happiness and fulfillment is a Weisenburger Team Priority.
God is good. Another woman who comes to visit her Mom happened to be there so we were support group to each other while I kept waking my Mom up to feed her and she talked softly to her Mom, trying to talk her out of crying and wanting to go home, while my friend cried herself. We hugged as we left, sisters of the broken heart.
One car plus a multitude of responsibilities (house, family, church) plus calendars that are either not kept up or forgotten about equal the need for tons of patience. Patience can wear thin.
Only yesterday, just before a wedding to go to at night, we realized that we hadn't put Paul's teaching schedule on his calendar or mine. He was carrying it around in his head, even though I'd printed the schedule for him from an email.
This is not the first Case of the Screwed-Up Calendars. Nor will it be the last.
We discovered yesterday that today Paul had to teach a three hour class at the Seminary in the morning and we were attending another wedding at noon. So we did under-the-gun brainstorming to decide how to handle today. He'd drive to the Seminary and teach, dressed for the wedding, while I got ready at home, and I'd be ready to jump in the car when he got home after cutting his class short by fifteen minutes so we could make it to the noon wedding.
The one thing we didn't do was argue about whose responsibility it was to put his teaching dates on our calendars. We could have made a case for either one of us being at fault - or both. But the Blame Game is a useless waste of energy. (Even though screaming can be cathartic!) Better to spend the time and energy deciding on where to be when and how. Patience!
Patience seems to come under the St. Francis Peace Prayer line "it is better to understand than to be understood." We love each other. So we work to understand each other's jobs, ministries, and priorities, and then plan as a team how best to cover what needs to get done.
We do trade-offs a lot. Earlier this week I took my sister to lunch and to two banks and to UPS and Dollar General and did her grocery shopping for her because she needs a partial knee replacement. While I was out, Paul did needed work around the house. When I got home, we went out to dinner so we could sit, visit, and relax, and then we did our own grocery shopping together. It seems as if each one of us remembers something different that we need.
I know we both have to be patient with ourselves a lot so we don't fall into the trap of "There is only one way to clean, a right number of hours to spend at the nursing home or with my sister or at the church, or one perfect way to relax." And we hope that from month to month we both get more mature and patient with ourselves about what is realistically best to do in the moment. Whoever cleans, cleans his or her way. The number of hours spent at the nursing home or with my sister each week depends on our number of other commitments and level of stress-exhaustion. And I relax by holing up in the bedroom with a book or in the study to write and he reads or watches mindless t.v. Major relaxation comes in spending time with our children or grand-children.
Too much responsibility or aloneness is also a trap - so we regularly make time to enjoy a dinner out or a favorite DVD or favorite t.v. program together. Or we're off and out of the house for a movie, a play, a musical performance. This week we're going to two presentations at Buff State College's Anne Frank Project. Understanding and respecting our human needs for relaxation and stimulation and fun means Avoiding Burn-Out and reminding ourselves why we fell in love in the first place! We still enjoy each other's company. Team work.
Patience with God takes prayer. As each new crisis or responsibility pops up, it's easy to fall into the "Now, God, this would be the best way for You to work this out for us." But patience and team work also mean letting God do God's thing as a major member of the Weisenburger team. God's solutions will always top ours for sheer inventiveness and surprise.
If we both have faith first in God, it's amazing what One car and Two screwed-up calendars wielded by a Mightily Patient Team can accomplish!