What a brilliant phrase. Leave it to my mom to come up with something so fabulous.
I wish I could say she was describing the way I approach life–content with my surroundings and able to flourish no matter my circumstance. Sadly, she wasn’t describing me, but instead painting a picture of my sweet husband. Jay could make lemonade out of bad kiwis. He never knew a discouraging situation. He’s a much-needed anchor for me in this life!
One of my favorite stories from his childhood is one of a rough day in kindergarten. (That’s where it all starts.) His mom said that it was the only time she asked how school went and he responded with ‘good’ instead of ‘great.’ Apparently, the class was to be rewarded for good behavior with ice cream sandwiches, which also happens to be my preferred method of rewarding myself as well! Jay was talking too much and lost his ice cream privileges. He was told he’d have to sit out and watch the other kids enjoy their desserts.
After recounting the story to his mom, she asked, “Well, how did that make you feel?” “Fine,” he responded. “I pretended I had an ice cream sandwich, too. But I had a Coke with mine!”
And that’s my husband. Twenty-five years later, his pretend ice cream sandwiches are evident in all he does.
It’s not that discouraging things don’t happen to him. It’s that they don’t affect him. Somehow, he rises above it all, like it can’t touch him. His glass is always half full–more than half, actually. And it’s made out of candy…with sprinkles.
I’ve sometimes pondered the difference between he and I, realizing its existence early on but really unable to put a name to it until recently.
We were house hunting in Houston. After several offers fell through, we settled on a home close to church. It wasn’t my favorite, but I knew it had all that we would need. Unfortunately, we had already offered on my favorite home and were rejected.
One night, I was talking with my mom on the phone regarding our house’s inspection. She noted I didn’t seem very excited about the home. I shrugged it off. “Yeah, but Jay’s excited,” I retorted. And my mom spoke the very essence of what I knew to be true about Jay from the beginning. “Honey, Jay will bloom where planted.”
I laughed out loud at the sound of the words. That’s it! The difference! Jay will bloom where planted.
But what does that mean for me? Am I plantable? Or bloomable? And if so, in what circumstances? Why do I need more attention than he does?
Because I’m not content…not content in my current situations, no matter how great they are. I am deeply affected by my surroundings. I feel constantly at war with my emotions.
And Jay? He’s covered in ice cream sandwich, sipping his soda…happy as a clam.
The same situations, in the same marriage, have two very different outcomes.
I know some of it can be chalked up to differences in personalities. I am Type A–rigid, planned, driven. Jay is a whole different type, all his own. He is generally late but joyful and fun when he does arrive. He gets super excited over a BOGO on gummy bears. Every time he goes grocery shopping, those squishy little fiends find their way into his cart and back to our house. And he’ll eat the whole package, unaware of its caloric content or the fact that its placement next to the register in grocery stores is a marketing strategy aimed at children. Those bears make the man happy.
We aren’t (and never will be) the same personality type. And it’s a good thing, too. We balance each other out. If it were only up to me, we’d have awesome looking bank accounts, complete with a fully funded emergency fund and room to spare…but no grace for giving to others. If it were up to Jay, we’d have Starbucks twice a day, attend every major sporting event, and live off of Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream and multicolored, fruity woodland creatures. Happy and fat.
While I’m fine with keeping my personality (God-given, mind you), I want to live with the same content spirit my husband possesses.
So how does one do that? What can I do to feel at peace with where I am? Unworried and unstressed.
I believe the answer lies in Scripture, and I plan to find it. I love research, so this should be fun. 🙂