He kept his voice hushed, but spoke without hesitation. He told her about his son; the boy is almost nine now, and won’t listen to him.
He says it’s because she coddled the boy, wouldn’t let the father discipline him. Now there’s defiance, contempt. Once, he related, the boy tried to get out of a moving vehicle. Another time, they drove to a the local strip mall to go to a drug store, and he got out and walked home. Not knowing or caring – the details were sketchy here – they decided to walk home too. Apparently, the car sat there overnight and to get to work the next day, he had to walk to the strip mall and pick it up.
He spoke to her of a day when he’ll make enough money on his job to walk out, leave the house to his wife, and not look back. I didn’t listen closely. I didn’t want to know. He wasn’t talking to me, only in proximity to me. I overheard most of it, and all of what I gathered were in snatches, pieces and bits I wasn’t willing to put together.
I got the gist even if I didn’t want it. A man with either hopes or plans to leave his family behind him.
When he walked away, I was careful not to let him know I heard. I’m sure he knew, though. I’m only one cube with no real walls away from where he spilled his bile. He surely didn’t care who overheard. But when he was gone, back to his own work location, I shuddered. I closed my eyes, and shuddered.
And then I prayed for him.
When I finished, I realized how grateful I am for what I have. A spouse who is a friend, lover, confidant, and partner in all I do. Supportive of me in everything. A son who, despite his questions about why things are the way they are, not being quite grown-up enough to fully grasp why things might vary from one situation to the next while being too grown-up for "because," still obeys. Still seems to respect me. Still honors me, even if he doesn’t like me. A son who has given his heart and soul to our Lord and King and who honors Him by cooperating with me. A daughter who seems to enjoy my company. A family who greets me at the door with shouts and hugs and kisses.
And when my eyes burned with tears I had to hide my face, because it meant so much. Yes, in that moment, but always. What I have, what I sometimes take for granted, is so precious, so special, so rare and delicate, and I am willing to defend it.
With my life, if necessary.
Today, I am grateful for when a man who is terribly unhappy at home reminded me of how terribly happy I am at home.