The other night, I was on my way out the door to go to a church men’s group, and I told my wife I didn’t know how to get there. She gave me directions to the house, which was located in another part of D.C. I repeated the directions back to her, and then I got in the car and drove away. But then one block later, I realized I didn’t have my cell phone with me.
At least I’ve got directions, I thought, feeling relieved that I didn’t have to go back to the house. That relief was cut short when I kept driving but never saw the street where I was supposed to turn.
I kept driving and driving until eventually, I began to notice signs that referred to Prince George’s County, which is in Maryland.
Wait – I’m in Maryland? I thought. I didn’t realize you had to drive through Maryland to get to the house.
Eventually, I started using my brain, and it occurred to me that, in fact, it didn’t make any sense to drive through Maryland to get to a house in the opposite direction. So I pulled over and asked a random guy if he could use his phone to look up the address where I was going. I wrote down the directions and tried to follow them, but his phone got it wrong too.
So I drove around the city burning gas and asking random people for bad directions until one guy finally got me headed the right way. And about 50 yards from my friend’s house, a woman who was washing her car on the street sprayed water through my open passenger window, getting me and my personal effects wet. I honked my horn at the water and felt stupid.
I was frustrated.
I Finally Speak to My Wife
I was so annoyed, but due to the fact that I didn’t have my phone with me, I was unable to call or text my wife to express my frustration; so I walked into my men’s group 25 minutes late, and we began a time of prayer and meditation on scripture.
Around the same time the group ended, my wife realized she had given me bad directions and that I didn’t have my phone; so she called my friend’s phone to make sure I was alive.
“D.C. Police,” I answered in a deep voice.
“Honey! I got the directions wrong,” she said.
“I hadn’t noticed,” I said with a smile on my face.
After I got home, we discussed the mix-up for all of 30 seconds before changing the topic to something else. And it wasn’t until the next morning before it hit me: that gracious interaction was kind of miraculous.
What Went Right
Normally, under circumstances that stressful, I would say something rude to my wife; she would get defensive; and it would take at least 15 to 20 minutes for both of us to get off of our high horses and move on. In this instance, there were two things that made the difference: time and being with Jesus.
Without my phone, I didn’t get the opportunity to react – I had to cool my jets. And thanks to the fact that I was at my men’s group, where we were quietly meditating on scripture and praying, I received love from Jesus, so it was much easier to give that love, despite the frustrating circumstances.
What a difference it would make if, next time there’s a legitimately-annoying circumstance, I chose to give it some time rather than try to fix it with words. And imagine what would happen if, during that time, I opened my heart to receive love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control from the heart of God (Galatians 5:22-23). If I did that, arguments between my wife and me would probably get a lot easier to manage – because we would be a lot less likely to have them in the first place.