My wife and I downsized over a year ago from a beautiful home on five acres in the country, to a starter community in the suburbs. Our financial situation, precipitated by a wake up call from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, opened up a large wound in our marriage. As a result, my wife sacrificed her dream home. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, then you know it’s an issue we have talked about once or twice in counseling since. But since our move, we have been fortunate to use the savings to complete a lot of DIY projects, which helps it feel less like a house and more like a home.
I have found that this time spent together is improving our communication and contributes to a feeling of hope for our marriage again.
One of these projects is a garden, who both my wife and I enjoy tremendously planting and maintaining. If you’ve paid attention to East coast weather, then you would know that Virginia has received over 14 inches of rain this month alone. It’s a new record for the month, and has made it damn near impossible to do anything outside, including getting our garden in. More so, when we finally were able to spend several hours planting this past weekend, in addition to landscaping and seeding our backyard, the sky opened up yet again and flooded everything. As you can see in the picture, I had good reason to cuss the weather for fear of losing all of our hard work.
My wife took pictures and shared our angst across Facebook with our friends and family. But, little did I know, Facebook was about to offer a tall glass of perspective. A few posts below hers, I noticed the post of a childhood friend, who had just recently and unexpectedly lost her husband and father to her two children. He was a volunteer fireman, and loved by his family, friends, and community. Today was her oldest’s fourth birthday, and it was obvious his absence was looming over the celebration.
We all have what we perceive as a crisis from time to time— situations in which our ability to cope and handle are either stretched thin or exceeded.
But suddenly I felt foolish realizing our flooded yard was hardly the crisis I once thought, and more so, grossly trivial in the grand scheme of things.
In fact, even in the worst case scenario where the rain drowned all of our plants and caused the loss of our hard work, I could still have another opportunity to spend more time with the woman I love doing something we both enjoy. I take for granted how the minor inconveniences of life are often the precursor to opportunities for family to spend more time together, not less. I have no perspective to give that might explain or soften my friend losing her husband, and her children their father. I can only offer my condolences, and frame through their loss just how fortunate I am to have my family.
If it’s storming in your life, I want to encourage you to look for new opportunities to reconnect old relationships and new once the flood waters recede. Glasses of perspective are served tall and much more often than one would think. Now bring on the rain!
Benjamin Martin is a lieutenant with the Henrico County Division of Fire (Va) and a 13-year veteran of public safety. His writing is featured on FirefighterToolbox, Firefighterwife, and he has worked extensively with the Virginia Fire Officers Academy, in addition to speaking nationally on leadership. You can reach him with comments or questions at Mar91@henrico.us
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