My wife and I shoulder the yoke of our shared lives as gracefully as the soil, into which our plow share is forming a new furrow, allows. For me, this recently came into sharp focus while we were replacing soffit screens on our house.
The necessary steps of replacing soffit screens are as follows; remove the old screens, cut new twelve inch screen roll to length (generally about twenty feet), fold the screen to be only seven inches wide, staple the screen over the soffit vent, cover the edge of the new screen with something so critters are not able to work at the sides (one by two treated lumber in our case), and finally, to prime and paint the new wood.
The process of installing the new, seven inch by twenty foot, long screen requires a minimum of two people. One to hold and one to staple and nail. As my wife, and women in general, are not nearly as efficient at stapling and nailing, she is the primary holder.
A quick aside … Some might quibble with my assertion that, in general, women are less efficient than men at stapling and nailing. For those of you that do quibble with this assertion, I propose that you ramrod a Habitat for Humanity crew for a few days. Some of the more common views you will encounter are men holding ladders for women who are performing work atop the ladder. When that work is stapling or nailing, both the man and the woman will have pained expressions. The woman’s pain is rooted in the struggle of performing work for which she is inexperienced, and ill-suited. The man’s pain is rooted in frustration associated with wanting to complete the work himself. Work of a type he has likely performed countless times in the past. Switching roles on the soffit screen job would not occur to my wife, for a few reasons. One, my having been a sheetrock and painter guy, she has witnessed me performing this work for many, many years. Second, she wants to complete the work in as short a time as possible. And lastly, my wife is from Texas and is, therefore, a liberated woman, is unhindered with second-wave feminism, and admires men doing manly things. By this reckoning, my proposal stands.
Back to my story.
During one of our soffit screen repair breaks, while my wife was inside snapping ends off green beans and I was sipping coffee and smoking a cigar, I reflected on the many blessings in my life. Most prominent at that time was the blessing that is my wife, with her poor ways and ruggedness of body and spirit. Not only is she capable of doing physical work, but is also drawn to it in her desire to shape her world to that which is most satisfying. As a pair, we (she and I) are well fit. Her “outies” fit nicely in my “innies”, and her outlandish spontaneity normalizes my quirky need for control. Our faith and our worldly beliefs are aligned such that communication and coordination are made easy and intuitive. While involved in brutish activities, I am boss. Inside the house, in the garden, around the washer and dryer, etc. she is boss. To a large extent, when push comes to shove, we can graciously accept the other as boss for any job. We greatly admire the best aspects of each other and humbly accept returned admiration. We both like and desire each other both in a platonic sense and in ways that might be impolite to mention here. To some degree, one being useless without the matching other, we are a fitted pair. We are simultaneously complimentary and strikingly different, going together as well as do navy blue and lemon yellow. The softness of her skin under the roughness of my hand is not unlike the measured tone of her sharp tongue when railed against my gentle nature.
And so it is we go as beasts of burden under the yoke. Life spends itself out in loquacious harmony as we plod and trod, eying that which is next before us. Shouldering the responsibilities that will bring us closer to our desires, closer to each other, and closer to God.
Love you, babe.