by Roxanne Smith

It was going to be a special weekend. Our son Jakob was coming home from college. He and my husband Andy had tickets to the Michigan game, where the team had been winning under Coach Harbaugh. The weather forecast was perfect.

We thought it would be a nice touch to paint Jakob’s bedroom before he arrived. It hadn’t been painted since he was a baby, at which time we’d picked a fitting color: baby blue. Now he was 19. Clearly not so fitting anymore. So Andy emptied the room of most of the furniture and primed the walls. We chose the color: slate grey, so much more fitting for a young adult!

But then we ran into a time crunch. Work demands and church commitments had taken more time and energy than we’d anticipated. Meanwhile Jakob’s bed languished in the garage; his desk and end table blocked half of the hallway; and his bedding sprawled across a chair in the office.

Wednesday evening would be the last chance to move forward on the painting project. Andy came home after work. We started to eat dinner.

“You’ll never guess where I went today,” he said.

“Where?” I asked. My mind quickly revisited the places I’d been that day: the grocery store for some of Jakob’s favorite foods; the store where I’d bought a Michigan sweatshirt for the game they’d be attending; the ATM for some weekend cash. Maybe Andy had stopped for paintbrushes or rollers so the room could be finished.

“I stopped at the Ethiopian Grocery Store on my way home from work.”

“Where? Why would you go there, of all places?” I asked.

“I’ve always been curious about it and wanted to check it out. They actually have green coffee beans! The owner said you can roast them yourself in your own kitchen!”

Green coffee beans???? I stared at my husband, incredulous. How could he be so oblivious to the deadline we were under? Had he completely lost his mind?

Green coffee beans???? I stared at my husband, incredulous.

“I asked him how to roast the beans, and he said he didn’t exactly know what temperature to use, but that his daughter knew how to do it.” He looked at me as if he’d just shared the most interesting information.

“Andy!” I heard myself shout. “Of all the things you could have chosen to do to help me get ready for this weekend, you chose to do this!? I can’t believe you thought that was a good idea!”

Even though I’m married to a loyal, loving, steady guy, my mind started to recall any time he’d ever used poor judgment in the past. There was that time he had experimented with baking a chocolate cake and added a tablespoon of cloves to the batter, just for fun. (Don’t try it.) And there was that other time he bought purple socks because he’d wanted his wardrobe to be more colorful. (Also not advised.)

In fact, I couldn’t remember a single time he’d done anything with good judgment! Not one single time!

At the same instant, I couldn’t see that I was basically making a mountain out of a molehill. In my mind, I was completely justified. Clearly I was the practical person in the room; even more clearly, he was the clueless person in the room!

Pastor Rossow told us in Bible Class that our minds actually deceive us. They tend to tell us that the things we do and think are right, while the things others do and say are not as right. We tend to view ourselves as better than we really are, and to view others as worse than they really are.

We tend to view ourselves as better than we really are, and to view others as worse than they really are.

Andy was looking at me like he’d just been through a wind tunnel. Visibly surprised by my reaction, he looked taken aback. At the same time, it was starting to dawn on him that he’d picked the worst time to indulge a curiosity that held no urgency whatsoever.

Between the half hour lost to Andy’s stop at the Ethiopian grocery store, and the hour I/we wasted fighting about how dumb it had been to waste time stopping at the Ethiopian grocery store, there wasn’t time to paint the room. Brilliant!

So the room did not get painted. There wouldn’t have been time to put all the furniture back, anyway. Jakob came home for the weekend and slept in the basement next to the pingpong table, instead of his bedroom. He took it well. The world did not end.

Andy and I revisited the issue after the weekend was over. I apologized. He apologized. We acknowledged — once again — that we are both flawed people. “Sinners” would be the Biblical term. Oh, it’s humbling sometimes, to realize how sin affects my whole mindset. And in marriage as well as other close relationships, you/I really can’t hide it for long.

But once again, Pastor Rossow reminded us that there is grace for that. Jesus died for me because I can’t make myself better. I need help with that. And not just once, but again and again. I need Jesus to cover my sin and to make me right with God. I’m just so grateful that He offers that to me. And to Andy. And to you.

That makes me truly free; I know that when I mess up and overreact, I can be forgiven and start over again. What a relief! Knowing Jesus gives me the strength to acknowledge my weaknesses. Knowing Him gives me the courage to love people, just as they are.

And now that the weekend is over, I really wouldn’t mind looking into roasting green coffee beans…..

Photo courtesy of “75 degrees green coffee” by Dan Bollinger – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons