Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Assumption Test

My oh my. Thirteen months ago when Tom lost his job, God began giving me the ol' Assumption Test and I've been failing it ever since. Gah. I know God's just trying to make this adjustment of Tom's constantly being home easier on the both of us, but gee... this has been one of the longest, most frustrating tests ever.

Examples? Months ago I told Tom how to make rice and then assumed he'd remember my directions. Well, instead of assuming such a thing, I should have written the instructions down. Took about two hours to repair that rice.

I also kept assuming he knew lots of basic cooking facts, ones which took me decades to learn, but when it became clear he didn't, I'd get all flustered at his ignorance. Yes, got an F on those Impatience Tests, too. (Whenever we become impatient, pride is always somehow involved.)

As Tom's walked out the door to run errands I've assumed he'd be back at a certain (reasonable) time, then worried when he returned hours later than my idea of a reasonable time.  I've assumed he'd call if he was going to be late without even discussing with him what my idea of late was. (And I don't like to call his cell phone lest I tempt him to answer it while he's driving, something not only unsafe, but illegal in our state).

I've sent him to the store and assumed he'd buy only the healthy version of what we needed, then been blown away by the salty and fat-laden junk he's brought home. I've asked him not to buy cookies and assumed he knew that meant no cake, pie or ice cream, either.

The other morning I left a note for him that there were waffles for breakfast and I assumed he'd figure out the syrup was in the pan on the stove waiting to be heated. He looked for syrup in the refrigerator, didn't see any, so he put something like cottage cheese and brown sugar on the waffles and said he liked it. But! I was so blown away that after 32 years he didn't just check the pan on the stove because I always heat syrup for him (there's the key--*I* always do it, then bring him the finished waffles on a plate). So I should have added that syrup's-in-the-pan instruction to my note and not assumed he'd know it.

Of course, that type of thing (when it happens over and over) gives me a panicky, burdened, "must I do everything?" feeling, showing me that I'm still relying far too much upon myself, rather than God's help and wisdom and strength.

But at least over time I've learned to never assume he's turned down the heater at night or locked the house doors or the car by way of the clicker before he goes to bed. I do those things and others like them.

Maybe this sounds small to you, but it's gotten huge for me because it's greatly affected our communication. I mean, for years we used to be able to nearly read each others minds! But now, huh. It's like there's this force field which blocks our signals--or something. Also, for all those decades I just did everything myself around the house and so I never relied upon Tom to do anything. So communication in that area is new-to-us, also.

Doesn't help that we each can barely remember anything nowadays, either, and my prideful, "Oh, I won't need to write that (tiny, obvious thing) down. Surely, I'll remember that!" Huh.

What to do, what to do... Well, keeping my brain quiet, unflustered, so to rely upon the still, small voice of God would help. Not going all ballistic, mad-at-myself-because-I-should-have-known-better would help, too, and is actually a sign of pride. (I, me, me, me--the oh-so-capable woman--should have done better). That's big-time pride. Gulp.

Being more forgiving of Tom's and my own mistakes is also part of this assumption testing thing. Not allowing myself to get so discouraged by what appears to never change would improve things and is also part of allowing my faith to grow in the middle (muddle) of it all.

And on and on.

God sends along these tests so that there'll be less strife and more room for joy in our lives. And if we can live through these tests, survive and thrive through them, we will discover joy over on the other side. I've found that to be true over and over and will find it to be true again in this area, as well. Someday. Hopefully.


I even wrote a note which I keep up on our refrigerator to help me. It says, "Never assume anything! Make clear requests and give precise directions--always."

Now if I can just remember to look at it.....  :)



Anonymous said...

WOW, thanks for all this information!! I am facing this scenario soon too, with hubby probably retiring in just months. I am sorry you have memory issues too, but then maybe what we are facing is about right for our ages (we are a couple years older than you and Tom). It SHOULD help I HOPE for us to pare down and live simpler. I too have always been the "door locker" and checker of lights off/on, whatever..sometimes he does them, but I can never assume that he will. I learned this back in 1978. He left me alone while he went to church, HUGE, 1 day from delivery pregnant,...both my toddler son and I asleep. He went off and left the doors unlocked. We had a huge fight when he got home...and in 12 hours I had the baby. Hmmmm, did my upset cause the earlier delivery? Not sure...though it was just 1 day from the due date. But I learned then that I could NEVER depend on him in those areas. And I have depended upon him when driving new places to be able to get back to where we came from, without my help. But no more...I now have to pay attention when he is driving...We do have a GPS...tho' it is not a very helpful one. It is scary sometimes!! Have to depend upon GOD in ways we never have had to before.
Blessings, Elizabeth in NC

Morning's Minion said...

I smiled while reading this, but also was saying, "Errr--oh yes!"
We are a year and a half into official 'retirement' which included a move across the country and down-sizing into a humble little house.
The adjustments are on-going--and if I'm fair--there are adjustments to be made on both sides.
J. has pitched in to help with many things which he wouldn't formerly have had time to do: gardening, helping when there are tons of produce to put up, etc. He likes to cook [at times] but he doesn't wipe up spills or set dishes to soak--or at least not dependably. He exits the livingroom at bedtime leaving a wallow of untidiness--when seemingly it would be so easy to straighten cushions, etc.
What I'm finding is that dealing with a man at home is rather like dealing with a small child in that for each simple task done or each duty taken on there must be PRAISE AND AFFIRMATION doled out unstintingly. This gets a bit wearisome---saying 'thank-you' endlessly for the same tasks which I have done--unnoticed--for eons!
There are moments when I feel that I'm on this learning curve alone and that it would be pleasant if my spouse acknowledged the need or nicety of supportive interaction.
Surely we are never finished with God showing us the flaws in our characters and the on-going need for humility [which is not the same as becoming a doormat!]
So--we folks of a certain age need to encourage one another, not least in the notion that a cultivated sense of humor could be a big help.

Anonymous said...

We are there too. Retired over a year now and sick before. Suzy homemaker that I was too is no more. Sigh... I Need time alone to really pull things out and work on clearing and cleaning. Can't be done. Hubby is always there and fusses if things are in his way while I work on working. I had a chance to go out alone the other day... only less than a handful of times so far...and he decided he would go along too! Sigh two!! :) Adjustments galore for me as well as him too I am sure! :) :) It is sure good we love each other! :) Sarah