Monday, May 30, 2011

Marriage Mondays ~ Got Lice?

The children were supposed to put a marker between their toes and write their name on a sticker. For most it was fun, but she was struggling. Small and struggling. When I went to help her, her smile lit up every corner of my heart. I tried to write for her, but she was confused beyond the language barrier. She took my hand, and we ran off around the building. She hopped and danced as she waited for me to pull off my shoes and leave them outside, guiding me into the girls bunk room and to what I guessed was her bed. She lifted her pillow, the cover for her treasures, and pulled out an envelope with her name on it. She grabbed my hand again, and we raced back to the marker and sticker, putting down the envelope so I could copy her name. Rangsima.

Her name sounded like a trio of musical syllables that produced a smile. It began a day of tying strings back and forth from my heart to hers. When our partners shared the little girl's story, it was easy to see why things like writing your name could be hard and why a chance to choose a mommy for a day was enticing. We shared a sweet day together in between a Bible lesson and games and crafts and lunch and activities. In the afternoon, the whole group went for a rare treat - bowling.

After our full day together, little Rangsima was tired, and she leaned her head over onto my lap while I stroked her hair and hurt for the little girl with no mother. Then I found them.  Head lice.  At the end of a long day of snuggling and playing and hugging and loving, the little friend who claimed me had head lice .... actually, the eggs of head lice. A lot of them.

Head lice are spread by close contact with people, and the day was full of close contact. You can't love from a distance. Helping change clothes. Sitting on her bed. Holding on my lap. In the moment of discovery, the question washed over me:  "Does head lice change anything?" 

Does "life lice" change anything?  

The more time we spend with our spouse, the more likely we are to discover some "lice" in our lives. It may be a shocking discovery during a time when things were so good and our hearts were so tied together. Does the discovery of the "lice" on people in our lives change anything? Do you tend to run when you see "life lice?"

Marriage involves close contact, and the lice of one is likely to "get on" the other person. When describing what love looks like in real life, in the hard things of life, in the lice. Habits. Hang ups. Failures. Differences. Offenses.  Lice.
"in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus."(Philippians 2:3b-5)

The mind of Jesus loves unconditionally, not letting something like annoying lice or habits or offenses get in the way and sever the love. Lice doesn't change real love. 

So I know you want to know if I got lice ... the insect kind. ;)  Lice didn't change our love, but I did stop by a pharmacy that night and get two bottles of shampoo (just in case) for my roommate and myself. Loving someone with "issues" doesn't mean I have to want those issues on me! As of today, I am still insect free.  Feel better? :) Me too!!!

Does your man have "life lice?"  Have you discovered he has something that makes him hard to love, hard to embrace, hard to snuggle up to emotionally or physically?  Are you tempted to push away, repelled by the thought of what's "wrong" with him? Do YOU have "life lice" making it hard to love you? The lice of life (not talking insects) doesn't change real love, and maybe it's those with lice that need and appreciate love the most.

If you're struggling with "lice" in your marriage, ask God to help you love without condition. Focus on how He loves you, and ask Him to help you love your spouse with a love like that.

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