Monday, March 08, 2010

Forgiving

The phone rang one day last week and it was my husband. Kathryn was upstairs struggling with her health problems and Qavah was watching a movie. I was finishing the breakfast dishes and thought I might not even answer the phone as tired as I was. But I picked it up and heard Paul's voice. He said, "Dawn, I was just thinking about you and I want to talk to you for a minute." I wasn't sure where the conversation was going, but I didn't care. It was just nice to have a phone visit from my man.

"Do you remember when I bought the old Morris Minor right after we got married?" he asked. "Yes, I do." I said. He proceeded carefully, "I just want to tell you how sorry I am for buying that car and paying more attention to it than I did to you for eight years." As we were silent for a few moments I remembered going with Paul to see the car he had dreamed of owning since high school. I gingerly stepped through the tall grass at the back of the used car lot. I noted that grass grew up through the floorboards of the old Morris and the interior smelled like several generations of mice had used the seat cushions for nests. He bought the car that day and after a few years of repairs I wondered when the project would ever turn into a real car. He worked on it every chance he got.

As my mind raced over that trail of memories I thought about how he finally got rid of not one but three "project" cars largely because of my protestations. We used the money to help fund Kathryn's adoption. I answered, "I forgive you, Paul. I totally and completely forgive you. And make a note of this date because I hereby absolve you of any guilt you may have in the future as well." He quietly and simply said, "Thank you."

I was pretty sure we were both smiling through the phone line. "Remember our heating system for that car?" I asked. "Yes," he replied, "You held an empty coffee can on your lap with a lit candle inside and it kept the windows from freezing." After another moment of memories I said,"Don't forget that we drove along once in the dark of night by candlelight and I told you that we were having an adventure." After a long pause he said, "Yes, but I once read in a Louis L'Amour book that adventure can be just another word for trouble." We laughed long and hard, and something had been repaired between us that had been needing to be addressed. After some more laughter we hung up. We were at peace. Proving once again that a good marriage is made up of not just two lovers but two good forgivers.