It's very hard to drip from thousands of miles away. It's hard to think your man could do anything wrong when he is thousands of miles away. I guess that is the main reason that when I read this verse while he was gone, it really never spoke to me. In fact, when I passed over it, I would specifically, pridefully think how very un-drippy I was.
"A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike."
In fact, reading this while he was gone and being acutely aware of the dripping of my fellow females around me, I became somewhat prideful. I distinctly remember being in conversations that eventually ended in drippy-ness and complaining. "He is constantly leaving those muddy boots there!" "I don't think he could pick up his dirty clothes if his life depended on it." "He was on the computer all night." "Early? He didn't get home until after 9! I was so mad." "He never puts the top back on!" "I told him that I didn't have time, I don't think he realizes how crazy my days are!" "I was so mad!" "He knew I was mad and I didn't have to say a word." All I would have to say, (and being truthful yet it was definitely pride mixed in) "I would give anything for muddy boots to be in my hall." Instantly, conviction would set in and the conversation would turn to better things.
Now, I will be the first to admit I have dripped a bit in my marriage...ok, possibly more than a bit. In fact, right beside this verse in my Bible I have the words in the margin, "Do I drip?" I am usually very aware of my drippyness, but when he is gone and is thousands of miles away, I can't drip. I don't drip. I refuse to drip. Our phone conversations are anything but drippy. In fact, our conversations are perfect. We are not bombarded with questions, interruptions, and daily life. Everything stops when they are deployed and they find a minute to call. The conversations are schmoopie and sweet talk. It's wonderful.
My sweet Marine has been home now for exactly 30 days. Other than the usual adjustments of remembering how much earlier need I get up when he is home, lunches that need to be made the night before, additional laundry in the hamper, and remembering to buy those Swiss cake rolls he loves so much, our homecoming is usually very seamless. He is great about coming in, stepping in to help, giving baths, running errands, and just being Dad and husband again.
It wasn't until a quiet morning that I first realized that God was trying to convict me on my dripping. I remember that morning specifically because when I got to the verse about the dripping, I realized it was also raining outside. Not a heavy thunderstorm-for-an-hour-and-blow-over kind of rain, but a constant steady dripping kind of rain. Hmmmm, that's so interesting how God used that word picture. And on the same morning that I read this. That was my one and only thought before I finished my quiet time and began my day of schooling, laundry, and life. Errands that took us out of the house, a package that arrived at our door, and a dog that needed to be occasionally let out, all got me out in that constant dripping kind of rain. Our house does not have gutters so not only are you dealing with the steady rain but each time coming or going, you are dealing with the constant dripping from the steady rain. In your eyes, on your arm, in your hair. I love the rain, really I do, but it eventually wears on you. It gets your clothes damp, back stairs muddy, hair wet, floor dirty, and dogs smelly. "Ugh, I will be so glad when it stops raining!" Drip. That word seemed almost audible in my head and instantly I thought of my verse from this morning "A constant dripping on a day of steady rain....." What a word picture.
I thought about that night before with Patrick. He had had a long day and while I was upstairs tying up loose ends with school, he had shut off lights and had gotten into bed. I was annoyed coming down the stairs. Didn't he know I was not done in here I thought as I turned on a light. Ugh. Dishes in the sink from his "midnight snack." Huge sigh, trying to be loud enough to be heard. Dishes clanging together a little more loudly than need be. As I finished, I turned off lights and headed to the bedroom. The laundry that I had left on the bed that afternoon that needed to be folded, was in the hamper next to the bed...NOT folded. The least he could have done was started folding laundry. I made a point to sigh louder as I turned on the bedside lamp and hastily began folding the laundry. "Baby, I would have done that, but I am so tired. Leave it and just come to bed." Easy for him to say. "Baby, if I leave it for tomorrow, it will just add to tomorrow. I don't think you have any idea what my days look like." Drip. I won't go any further. You get the point.
As I sat there that rainy day, it occurred to me that was a Drip. How did I start dripping already?? He just got home. I quickly pushed the thought aside. One drip. Ok, so I had a moment. I will apologize later. My day continued but I couldn't get that out of my head. I could almost see the question next to that verse in my Bible as if it were right before me...Do I drip?
Very conscious of my "bad weather" moment, I pressed through my day. When he got home I made a point to greet him and show him with my hug how glad I was that not only was he home, but that he was home, home and not in an overseas country. As he walked toward the kitchen, I heard his wet flight boots squeaking, "ugh, your boots! Patrick." Drip. I did it again! My heart stopped as I watched him remove his boots and with a quick apology run off to see children. What am I doing? Who cares about his boots? Didn't I spend the last 7 months reminding my drippy friends how much I would love to have his boots in my house? I quickly said a prayer that God would help me to not drip. Oh, what a reminder I was about to get.
Slowly, God started bringing to mind my dripping. It was a slow trickle at first and then became a steady rain of memories of the past 30 days. I had fallen right back into my drippyness without even realizing it. He had been signed up for a cross-country the weekend he returned from leave. Drip. He left the bags from unpacking on the floor in our room. Drip. He didn't call one day from work. Drip. He decided he needed a new truck. Drip. He was off one day when we had school and made it very difficult to get stuff done. Drip. He left the creamer out one morning instead of putting it back into the refrigerator. Drip.
Thankfully, not every drip was verbalized, but every drip was a real thought nonetheless. It was keeping me on the defensive. I was so ashamed. God had, so quickly, shown me where I was falling into old habits and not choosing to love Patrick. The Drip was constant. It was, at times, clouding my good thoughts and keeping my focus away from the blessings of having my man home. It was making me ready for an argument, if not with Patrick, in my thoughts. My dripping was putting up barriers and robbing me of my joy.
God was teaching me and using the simple concept of rain to do it. I prayed that day, and everyday since that God would be my Weatherman. He would stop the dripping. He would remind me daily to keep my focus on His plan and not the wet boots on my floor. When I am dripping the forecast is anything but welcoming...cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms and definite dripping. When I am walking with my God and keeping my thoughts captive the forecast is much more inviting...sunny, no chance of drips.