Coming Alive ! Or the Saga of the Dead Battery

My computer battery and I have something in common—we both run out of juice quickly if you use us somewhere where there’s no other power source.

The other day I dutifully followed my wife to the furniture store to buy a couch. She could have done it without me because I only have two prerequisites before buying—how much does it cost and will it be comfortable for naps? Actually, I’ll admit that it would be nice if it looked good too. I don’t want to be embarrassed by a huge green slab of something or other masquerading as a couch in my living room.

The first ten minutes I was there I spied a lot of couches that would do—white ones, brown ones, leather ones, soft ones. I was ready to buy one of them, but you know as well as I do that no one gets off that easily. We looked at them; sat on them; considered their fabric; and whatever. But the longer we went the more I could sense my “battery” running down.

Shoes stores have a similar effect on me. Bookstores on the other hand …

So, to avoid melting to the floor in a useless heap, I told her to buy the one she wanted and I sunk onto one of the couches that we were (maybe) going to buy. Ahhh … There, in a near comatose state, I pulled out my trusty mp3 player and started listening to one of my favorite podcasts. That has a way of renewing me. It’s like spinach for Popeye.

I listened and watched people coming and going. Two young ladies and a little girl were puttering around a little distance from me when one of the ladies, who seemed to be in her late 20’s, lit up like a three-year old who has just been offered an ice cream cone. I looked to see the cause of the smile and I spotted a man about 15 years older coming towards her.

They began to talk and there were lots of little smiles from her. He kind of leaned against a table and looked debonair and handsome—at least as debonair and handsome as a guy in his mid-40’s with a beer belly could look. She sent out little signals like … I really don’t know how it is you ladies send them out, but she was broadcasting.

And he was leaning there trying to look like a hunk. And he did–a hunk of something.

I knew they weren’t married. You know how? I cheated a bit because I didn’t tell you that the mama tried to get her little girl to greet the guy and the little one didn’t want anything to do with him.

But I would have known anyway because they were too nice to each other, and too interested in each other. Married people don’t act like that, do they?

Walk through the store and see what you can see. Couples with scowls on their faces, stressed out, not happy with each other. They look like they are trying to rack up “frequent frowner” miles.

Fortunately, not every one is like that, but far too many fill the bill.

I’ve got a personal question to ask? M’aam have you smiled at your husband today? And you, sir, have you done your “Tom Cruise cool” look to try to please her? (I know lots of you and I’d like to see your “Tom Cruise cool” look. That should be good).

Or have you at least been kind and spoken sweetly to each other today?

“Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out. Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” (1 Thessa. 5:15-18, The Message)

If God expects us to treat other Christians like that, how much more should we work to treat our spouse and our children with kindness and affection? We have to work to make sure that the atmosphere in our home is an atmosphere of love and caring. We worked hard at our relationship before we were married. Why not now?

This Coffee Stain comes with an assignment. Go find your spouse and give him or her the sweetest smile you possess. Say something nice.

Then write me back an tell me how it turned out.

“It’s never enough to be sympathetic with the pain that others are feeling. You also have to understand what causes the pain, and then you have to do something about it. You have to figure out how you can make changes to help alleviate the pain.” Joe Ehrmann quoted in Season of Life by Jeffry Marx

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