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To Be or Not to Be....
After fifty years of living, I think I pretty much know how to do most things . . . or should I say . . . I know how most things SHOULD be done. I've also learned nobody likes a know-it-all, so I work at not letting this gem of truth be known to one and all.
That doesn't include my family of course. Family is another story. After all, it's my job to help them, right? Keep them from making mistakes? What kind of mother or wife would I be if I just let them mess up? So, I've lived happily for many years believing this truth.
And then something happened. I was wrong.
We can let that sink in for just a minute or two.
And now, I’ll tell you how it went—it was something like this.
One beautiful afternoon while working in the yard . . . and I'm sure this was my idea—I can always come up with great ways to spend an afternoon enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. When my husband and kids were involved in these activities, they called it forced labor. Anyway, once when we were crashing through the overgrowth of the backyard, on a real expedition, my husband got a splinter in his hand.
“No big deal, just pull it out,” I said in an offhand manner.
But what I was thinking was, “Why wasn't he wearing the gloves I set out for him?”
As it turns out, it was a REALLY large splinter! Picture a toothpick rammed straight through the meaty part of his index finger. You could see the splinter just under the skin . . . a large round bulge that crossed from one side of his finger to the other. I attempted impromptu surgery, magnifying glass and tweezers in hand, but that splinter just wouldn't budge!
And here’s where things took a turn. My manly man of a husband just shrugged it off, saying, “It will come out when it’s ready.” Of course, I knew that was totally wrong, and I made sure he knew it too. I couldn’t help but remind him of the horrors of gangrene and painted vivid pictures of his finger turning black, giving stark and gruesome details about the guys who climbed Mount Everest and returned with black fingers that had to be amputated. I didn’t mention that their fingers turned black from the cold and not from gardening splinters! The debate continued back and forth and went on for weeks.
He would push the splinter around inside his finger, making sure I could see it, of course, and I repeated my pleas for him to go to the doctor and get it removed. I wanted him to do something about it! He just kept insisting it would come out when it was ready.
And you know what?! One day that darn mammoth splinter popped out of the other side of his finger! The splinter was still intact, no infection, no drama, and on this rare occasion I had no words other than “Well, there you go.”
My husband said it was a bit of a letdown. Secretly, he’d considered that I might be right.
Just for a flash, he had worried that his finger would get infected . . . that his finger would turn black. But he was glad he held his ground, as he was enjoying the fun he was having now—he was right—and I was wrong. That splinter came out when it was ready.
He then offered me a frosty glass of iced tea and a fork to go with my big slice of humble pie.