May is a celebratory month with the onset of spring, blooming flowers, and longer days extending the light. When I think about these things, I also think about Mother’s Day. So naturally, I think of my own mother and Sarah, my wife and mother of my children.
Over the next two weeks, I will share some lessons I have learned from both of them. These lessons have been instrumental in becoming someone worth following — and I can confidently say this because I have followed them! I am blessed to have both of these amazing women in my life.
I must exhibit some self-control writing this post, or it might become nauseating to the reader. My disclaimer is that the marriage I have with Sarah is human in that there are plenty of imperfections. So don’t get the idea that I think our marriage is perfect. Instead, what I’d like for you to take away is that I often think about my marriage and appreciate many things about it. And this is the first lesson I learned from Sarah that I am sharing with you: appreciate everything.
Sarah has taught me to not only appreciate the simple things, but also to reflect and be nostalgic. With an intellect that probably surpasses mine, she has taught me to think deeply before coming to a decision. Slowing down to think has served me well when it comes to decision making. My gut is often right, but making sure that it is has helped me avoid making big mistakes.
Get Outside Yourself
Sarah is the kind of person that bakes a pie for the neighbor when they are sick, buys food and delivers it to the homeless shelter, and writes a note to one of her friends when they are going through a tough time. All of this can be labeled as service, but it does not feel like that when I see Sarah do it. It just feels like who Sarah is — and watching her always challenges me to get outside myself and put others first.
To this end, Sarah often challenges me when I think I have not gotten anything done throughout the day. Knowing that I am task-oriented, she asks me how many conversations I had during the day. Maybe, she points out, some of those conversations were the work I was supposed to do? I often think of this when I walk our production floor and someone stops me to chat, meaning I’m late for my next appointment. I can practically hear Sarah’s voice in my head saying, “maybe THIS was the appointment you were supposed to have?”
Hard Work Outside of the Limelight
When COVID arrived, we asked ourselves, “What does COVID make possible?” Sarah’s answer was to homeschool our children. While this transition was not easy, I observed how Sarah embraced this reality with passion. She did not complain about the new circumstance; instead, she used her teaching skills to find, create, and teach a curriculum to our three kids. While it took time, Sarah — and each of them — persevered. Eventually, it became routine. And now, two years in, our two boys are excelling, and our five-year-old is ahead of her grade level. I learned from this that anything worth doing is hard, and success does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of perseverance. This has aided me when projects seem never-ending, and progress is hard to see.
Homeschooling has also taught me hard work is often done out of the limelight. Occasionally, people do not get the WORK being done inside our house (emphasis mine). I emphasize WORK to describe what is actually transpiring inside our home. Sarah does not fit into some “stay-at-home” label. Rather, she is a wife, mom, curriculum creator, teacher, and manager of all things inside the house. Label at your own risk — the point is that she shows up and does the WORK regardless. To this extent, neither of us loses sleep over our titles. Rather, Sarah has continually shown me that you do the best you can and then find your worth from the Lord. What other people think is precisely that — what other people think.
Finally, Sarah has taught me other lessons that are worth sharing here:
- Napping is a secret weapon for the psyche.
- You can always sleep in.
- You should only read what is fun or what you are interested in.
- You should always create a “fun” night where you can relax.
- Always give other people’s motives the benefit of the doubt.
- Never speak poorly of others when they are not present.
- Ask “what can I do to help” often.
This world needs more thriving relationships. So if you get nothing else out of this post, I challenge you to think about what you appreciate with those you are closest to. Then share it with them.
As I said above, my relationship with Sarah is far from perfect. But we work at it by discovering, and even rediscovering, what we appreciate about each other. This process makes us better. I am thankful for it, and for the amazing wife I am blessed with.