Short Story by Daphne Crause
Janet woke up bright and early, feeling alert and energetic for once.
“Wow,” she thought, “this is wonderful. It’s like a dream come true and an answer to my prayers.”
For many weeks she had been waking up late, feeling tired and weary even before the day started. She often also felt depressed. When she got out of bed it felt as though there was a heavy weight sitting on her back and slowing her down. But this morning everything was different. She felt as though someone had removed that heavy weight and she felt as light as a feather.
She stretched her arms and legs, then got up and went to the window to peep through the blinds. The sun had not yet risen, but the sky was a brilliant bright blue color and there was not a cloud to be seen. What a beautiful sight it was.
As she turned away to look for some comfortable clothes to slip on, she stopped for a moment to look at her husband Andrew. He was sleeping peacefully like a baby. She stood watching him for a moment and smiled. His foot was moving slowly from side to side, and she could see the pupils of his eyes moving rapidly. He was clearly dreaming and releasing the pressure of the big workload he had been under the last few days.
“What a wonderful husband I have,” she thought to herself. “He’s just the best. He’s so loving and caring and tender. I wouldn’t trade him for anything in this world.”
She finished getting dressed, putting on make-up and perfume, and then she felt like she could really start the day. She felt good.
Leaving the bedroom quietly so that she didn’t wake Andrew up, she went and prepared her favorite morning snack of coffee and English muffins in the kitchen. As she waited for the coffee to brew she kept herself busy by tidying up a few things, and she suddenly found herself singing as she did it. That was amazing. It was something she hadn’t done in months.
Once her snack was made she went and sat outside on their little balcony on the swing seat they had just set up. What a beautiful view was before her. The mountains in the distance were just beginning to lighten up as the sun began to rise, and she felt a sense of peace and contentment.
Everything was quiet, except for a few birds that were twittering with joy as they had an early morning bath in the nearby birdbath. Sitting and rocking gently on the swing she just relaxed and took in the peaceful moment.
“Today is going to be a good day.” she said to herself.
It seemed like she had sat there for a long time with her eyes closed. She was in her own little world, when she suddenly felt the seat of the swing move. Andrew came out quietly and sat down next to her.
“Hey, you’re up early.” he said in surprise. Then he gave her a big hug and kiss.
Janet smiled. “What a wonderful way to start the day. I got up early this morning. I woke up at sunrise and just feel so good. I know that today is going to be great. Want some breakfast?” she asked.
“Thanks, that’ll be great.”
Janet went inside and prepared one of his favorite quick meals. Then they sat down together on the porch to enjoy the cool of the day before starting off their work. They didn’t do much talking. There was no need to talk a lot, because they felt comfortable in each other’s presence.
After the meal was over Andrew went inside to go and start working. He worked from home on the Internet, so Janet was fortunate to have him around all the time. This had made their relationship very strong and close.
After washing the few dishes that were dirtied and cleaning the kitchen counters quickly, Janet went to her computer to do some writing that she had wanted to do for ages.
“Now, let’s see which one I should do first,” she said to herself. “Okay, let’s finish that article off. I feel a flow on it.”
She began to type away furiously as the thoughts poured into her head. She had been stuck on the middle of the article for a few weeks now, but suddenly she saw the pictures so clearly. Now she could complete the article at last. She was just in a wonderful flow when Andrew came through the door and disturbed her thoughts.
“Jan,” he said, “I’m really tired of tripping over the network cable in the room. I want to sort it out today; right now. We can’t carry on like this. We need to get this thing sorted out now. I want to change the bed to the other side of the room as we’ve discussed. Can you help me with it please?”
“Oh no.” she thought infuriated. “Why now? I’m just getting into such a good flow. And I know that tone of voice he’s using. He’s in driver mode.”
Then as if to encourage herself she thought,
“Come on, just make the most of it. He’s your husband. Just submit to him and it’ll be fine. I’m determined not to be moved by this now. I will have the victory today.”
She stopped and looked at him.
“Okay,” she said slowly, “but then can I get on with my writing please. I was just in a good flow there.”
She made it clear that she was not impressed.
“I’m sorry honey, it won’t take long. But we must do it now. We can’t carry on like this. Come, let’s go.”
A sense of irritation began to rise up in her already, and she had to fight the negative feelings inside of her. She followed him into the room and they began to move small items of furniture and other objects to the other side of the room. Then pushing and pulling little by little, they moved the bed to the opposite side of the room.
“Oh boy, look at the dust that was under the bed,” Andrew said. “Please get a broom and sweep it up quickly.”
“I hate that tone of voice.” she thought.
She was angry, and she looked away and clenched her teeth.
“It’s not what he says, but just somehow the way he says it makes me feel livid.”
Janet walked to the kitchen and got the broom, but clearly she was too slow for his liking.
“Hurry up. I haven’t got all day.” he snapped at her.
She didn’t say a word, but just gave him a look of real irritation. Then she snatched the broom and began sweeping quickly out of anger. She did not feel like submitting to him at all right now. And certainly the love that she had felt for him earlier seemed to be disappearing out of the door right at this moment.
Suddenly there was a crash as Andrew’s guitar fell to the floor.
“Oh no,” she thought in frustration. “I guess I let my anger get the better of me.”
“What are you doing?” he yelled at her. “Are you stupid? Can’t you watch what you’re doing? That’s a brand new guitar.”
“No I’m not stupid.” she snapped at him. “I didn’t see it behind me. I’m sorry,” she said softly. “It was an accident.”
Now it wasn’t just anger and resentment that she was feeling, but extreme sadness as well. She felt a big lump welling up in her throat and she tried to hide it.
She had always felt this in the past. She had never been able to show her emotions, but had hidden them inside, especially if she was upset about something. She had been having such victory over this problem lately, but now suddenly the past seemed to be creeping back. What was going on here?
Andrew grabbed the guitar and examined it to see if there were any damages to it. It seemed to be okay, but he took it out of the room anyway.
“You can go back and work again,” he said after a few minutes. “I’ll be okay to finish the rest.”
What a sorry sight they looked. They just stood staring at each other for a moment without saying anything. Then he looked at her and smiled.
“Thank you honey,” he said.
He really tried to show some appreciation, but it was really hard to not get angry with her. It just seemed to rise up in him without him even trying, but he really loved her so much.
Janet sighed. “Okay,” she said, then walked out of the room and went to the lounge.
Sitting down on the soft sofa she said,
“Argh. You’re just like my dad – always telling me I’m stupid.”
She pounded the pillow in an attempt to get her frustration out. Then she said,
“Lord Jesus please help me. I feel like screaming. Please tell me what’s going on.”
The rest of the day up until lunch time, Janet felt moody and depressed and couldn’t get that hurtful feeling out of her mind.
“It’s so illogical and stupid.” she thought. “It’s not the end of the world what he said, but I just can’t let it go. Yes I was stupid not to watch what I was doing. But hey, was it that bad that he had to scream at me and be nasty to me?”
She tried to get back into her writing, but it was very difficult to do anything. She couldn’t think straight, and every few minutes the fight that she and Andrew had had seemed to repeat in her mind over and over again.
It was as though her mind wanted to remind her of the negative situation all the time. What was worse was that each time she thought of it, she felt that same pain and hurt all over again.
She battled on and on during the morning trying to get things done, but she did a bit here and a bit there, and accomplished nothing. Eventually she looked at her watch.
“It’s lunch time,” she thought. “I’d better get something prepared. Maybe I’ll be more successful in doing that.”
She thought of the quickest and easiest thing that she could make, as she didn’t feel like cooking at all. Also no matter what she did, she just couldn’t concentrate, and even this easy meal took her twice as long to make as it normally did.
When it was finally finished she went and called Andrew. It was the first time they had even spoken to each other since the morning. She had just left him to work and hadn’t even been into the room at all.
She put her head round the door of the room and said rather loudly,
“Lunch is ready. Come and eat.”
Then she walked out again before he could answer her.
“Oh dear, I really have to stop being so angry. I’ve got to do something to change this now,” she thought, feeling bad for being so abrupt.
“Lord Jesus, please help me to resolve this problem now,” she prayed. “I can’t carry on like this with my feelings eating me up and having no peace.”
She went to the dining room and dished in the food for both of them. Then she sat down and started to eat already.
Andrew came and joined her a few minutes later. He gave her a little smile and said,
“Thanks honey. Busy morning?”
“No, not really.”
She answered him without even looking at him. Then she carried on eating.
He began to eat his salad and she buttered some bread, but neither of them said a word. There was an uneasy silence, and you could feel the tension in the air. Janet could not take it anymore. Silently she prayed,
“Lord Jesus, help me to clear the air now please. And give both of us wisdom to sort it out.”
Then taking a deep breath she blurted out,
“Andy, I have a problem…”
He stopped eating for a minute and looked at her.
“I have noticed,” he said jokingly.
Then he said with all sincerity, “What’s up?”
“I’m just still mad at you from this morning. I know it’s crazy, but I can’t get victory over this thing. Yes, I was stupid to knock the guitar over. I admit it. But I’m sorry, I still feel hurt about you yelling at me. I don’t know what the matter is. I just can’t stop thinking about it. And each time I do so, it makes it worse.
“To be honest with you, I can’t stand it when you act like you did this morning. I really hate it when you become a driver and boss me around. Then when you tell me I’m stupid, you’re just like my darn dad.”
He was about to take another mouthful, but he put his fork down and looked at her.
“Of course. Don’t you realize what’s happening here?” he asked.
She thought for a minute then shook her head.
“No, I haven’t got a clue.”
“It’s a law of judgment, Jay. It’s a very clear one.”
“A law of judgment? What do you mean?”
“Honey, think about all the stories that you told me about your dad of when you were growing up. You have told me so many stories of how he was nasty to you and insulted you and told you that you were stupid.
“Now what happened here today? I did the same thing to you, even though I really didn’t want to. It just kind of rose up inside of me.”
Janet took a sip of her orange juice and looked closely at him.
“So it’s like a repeat from the past,” she said slowly. “It’s like you became my dad all over again, and the very thing that I hated about him is what you became?”
“Bingo. You see, you judged your dad every time he did those things to you, and the Scripture, ‘Judge not, and you will not be judged,’ is exactly what happened here. You reaped your judgment of your dad in me.”
She sat quietly for a moment as she thought about everything and let it sink in.
“Wow, I can’t believe this. I guess it’s good that I’ve finally seen it. I really need to stop it now. I don’t know how to do it though.”
“That’s easy,” he said. “You need to let that judgment go. Even though your dad hurt you, your reaction was sinful. And so you need to ask the Lord to forgive you for sinning and judging your dad. It’s really that simple.”
“Maybe you can pray with me later,” she said.
“Well why later? Why not do it right now?” Andrew answered. “Just submit yourself to the Lord again. Then ask Him to forgive you for being bitter, and let that judgment go.”
He put his knife and fork down and pushed his food plate aside so that he could concentrate on the matter. Then he held his hand out to Janet. She took his hand then started to pray.
“Lord Jesus, I submit myself to you now in every area of my life. Lord, I ask you to forgive me for being bitter against my dad and for judging him.”
She began to weep softly then. Andrew squeezed her hand gently to encourage her.
“Keep going,” he said. “You’ll get the release.”
“Lord I realize that I have judged him and I want to let that judgment go now. I take back those words that I spoke against him. I renounce them and ask you to remove that judgment and take it out of me. Thank you for showing me the answer Lord.”
“Okay, now you must also talk to your dad as if he was standing here,” Andrew said. “Tell him everything that you’ve wanted to say in the past, but have never been able to say face to face. Ask him to forgive you too for being angry at him. Even though he’s not here it will still give you a release.”
Janet sat for a good few minutes before beginning to talk. This was difficult for her, because she had so much pent-up emotion in her. There was also so much anger that had built up over the years, but she knew she had to do it.
“Dad,” she said, “I want to talk to you…”
She waited for a few seconds before carrying on.
“I’m afraid I’m really upset with you. You always treated me badly compared to Philip and Colleen. You always told them that they were wonderful, and me that I was stupid.
“You really hurt me dad, but I forgive you for it. I know that you did love me, but you found it hard to accept me because I was so different. Please forgive me for being bitter and judging you.”
Now the tears flowed freely and she sobbed hard. But as she did it, it was as though all the pain, anger and hurts that she had carried with her over all those years began to just flood away. Suddenly she was aware that she no longer felt the way she did that morning. All the negative thoughts and emotions were gone.
“Love you,” Andrew said.
He smiled at her, then he reached over and gave her a kiss.
“Please forgive me for hurting you. I never ever wanted to do that. You’re too important to me.”
Janet smiled at him, her eyes still wet with tears.
“Of course I forgive you. Love you too,” she said.
They continued their meal then, but this time they talked about their future together, about having children, and about ministering for the Lord together.
“Thank you Jesus.” Janet prayed under her breath. “You’re so good to me. Thank you for answering me and showing me what was happening here. Love you too Lord.”
She closed her eyes for a moment and smiled. Today was turning out to be a good day after all.