I hate math.
I’ve hated math for as long as I can remember.
I avoid math at all costs, unless I have to manage a budget, measure ingredients to bake something chocolate, or calculate the new price of that fantastic top that’s 60% off.
Calculating numbers is not my forte; calculating in relationships (unfortunately) comes much easier to me.
I often find myself composing word problems like this:
“If husband gets 2 guys’ nights this month and wife hasn’t had an uninterrupted shower in 5 days, how many girls’ nights out should she get?”
“If wife cooks dinner every night for a week, how many loads of laundry must husband do?”
“If husband has to work late 3 nights this week, approximately how crabby can wife be (divided by 2 children and multiplied by the number of messes the two year old makes in the span of an hour)?”
“If baby has 4 diaper blow outs and 2 projectile spit ups before dad gets home from work how long can mom hide in the bathroom once he arrives?”
It is so easy to see relationships, especially those with the people we live with, as an attempt to keep the scales balanced. Even though I’ve been told time and time again (thanks, Mom) that life isn’t fair, I still seem to be surprised and disgruntled when it’s not.
Life, and especially love, just can’t be made to fit the scales.
Some weeks I will struggle, I will be tired and unmotivated and Hank will pick up the slack, doing laundry and washing dishes and playing with the kids.
Other weeks he will be busy with work or overwhelmed by deadlines and it’s my turn to cook dinner, change that millionth dirty diaper and make sure bedtime happens.
These situations won’t ever be equal. We can’t keep score or tally up how much we’ve done and tag out when we feel we have given enough or put in our “fair share.”
St. John Paul the Great is quoted having said,
“Do not forget that true love sets no conditions; it does not calculate or complain, but simply loves.”
Love posted on a scoreboard isn’t really love.
Love is simple not complicated, like my ridiculous word problems.
Love is 1+1= 2
“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
St. John Paul the Great, please pray for us as we strive to unlearn the habit of calculating in relationships and learn to simply give. We ask for the grace to offer up all of our struggles in giving love freely and for the ability to see that love offered alongside Christ’s immeasurable love is multiplied in ways we can’t even imagine. Amen.