As Iron Sharpens Iron

As Iron Sharpens Iron by Jennifer Sienes

My hero, Chris

My day started at 3:15 this morning when a to-do list invaded my dreams and pulled me from a dead sleep. I’m definitely a person who functions best with a routine. Maybe this is why, even on the weekends, I’m often awake at 4:30 in the morning. It’s routine. Traveling anywhere, even so short a trip as the Bay Area for a two-day seminar, throws me off. So, although I was wide awake, I lay in bed and waited for the alarm to go off at 4:00. I should have just gotten up, and I would have been spared the stress of rushing around. Because no matter how prepared I think I am, I end up rushing around when not in “normal” mode. And this morning was no exception.

Chris’s seminar was scheduled to begin at 9:00. I wasn’t going to attend, but joined him to get away from all the distractions so I could get some writing done. By the time I’d added the third addendum to the house sitting instructions, changed the sheets on the bed, and cleaned up the dog poop and pee from the garage for the third time, I thought it would have just be easier to stay home. And I won’t even get started on the messy house exacerbated by a wood stove, the raging storm and four dogs.

So, we got out of the house (finally!) twenty minutes past our scheduled time, and I was feeling pretty snarky. It was so dark out, I had a renewed compassion for the blind as I tried to find the car in the void. But once tucked behind the wheel and on our way, I took a deep breath. We could make up the lost time somehow.

Tree debris was scattered along our private road, thanks to the high winds that accompanied the storm. And then it happened. “Stop!” Chris yelled, as we came upon a tree that had fallen across our path. Seriously? We got out to see if we could move it, Chris dressed in his professional attire—light pants and a nice shirt. “This might get a little messy,” he said. It didn’t, because there was no way we were going to be able to budge that tree on our own. Chris decided we’d go back to the house and get the truck. “We’re never going to make it on time now,” I said. “Sure we will,” he replied. That’s my optimistic husband. Always sees the glass as half full, bless his heart.

Somehow, he got the car turned around on our narrow little road in the still pitch-dark, and we headed back to the house. Once we were heading down the road again, Chris in the truck and me in the car (consumed with anxiety), it hit me. I was not reacting with the peace Christ promises if we reside in Him. Instead, I was allowing the enemy to take hold. With a quick prayer and a deep breath, I felt the anxiety dissipate. A pastor once said that everything happens for a reason—even slow traffic. It could be God’s way of keeping us safe. Remembering this, I felt ashamed of my reaction in this situation. So what if Chris arrived at the seminar a few minutes late?

Once back at the tree, I got out of the car to see if I could help while Chris wrapped a strap around the tree trunk and hooked it to the back of the truck. “This is kind of a fun little adventure,” he said with a smile. I kid you not. He was having a good time. How could I help but smile? “This is why you’re my hero,” I said, while the last of the stress dissipated.

God was once again in charge.

The rest of the commute was completed without mishap, and we were actually forty-five minutes early—early enough that Chris could show me the hotel and scope out a Starbucks where I could hang out and write until it was time to check in.

I pray, in time, I can adopt the easy-going optimism of my husband. My type-A personality makes it difficult for me to rest in faith, as he does so well. But then, I know why God paired me up with Chris. My struggles are not his, and by the same token, his aren’t mine. Every day, I’m grateful for the example he shows me of grace and faith.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” Proverbs 27:17.

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