We drank a toast to all of this, and then I immediately went to bed, having a sense the the flu was coming on. That would be no surprise as my Beloved had been deathly ill from just before Christmas until a day and a half ago. My turn was coming.
This morning, I woke to the sounds of busy kitchen activity, and soon the odor of beautifully-cooked black-eyed peas began to fill the house. I straggled to the breakfast table, managed to make a pot of lovely Irish Breakfast Tea (both the elegant tea set and the tea being a Christmas gift from him), and just sat there, hoping some energy would return. In the meantime, my Beloved busily cooked me a fabulous breakfast, and began the makings of an elegant mid-day meal. As he served me, he reminded me that I am now the major wage-earner, and that as the retired one, it was his privilege to see how he could make my life easier. An hour and a half later, as I'm still not moving from the table, the refrigerator has been cleaned out, the pots and pans stacked neatly in their appointed places, the dishwasher emptied, and the traces of lipstick, which I never can get off, removed from the glassware. He then fed the dogs, gave them yet another lesson in dog etiquette, reminded them of their proper place in our household dog pack, and then joined me for a cup of Emerald Bamboo Forest tea (another part of the Christmas tea set gift).
I'm still just sitting here, but did bring the laptop in so I could write a bit and enjoy the morning light. Clearly, I could get used to this very, very quickly.
In the last few months, as I've gone through a grueling time with multiple professional challenges and a sense that all the balls I had in the air were about to come crashing down, I mentioned to some friends that what I really needed was a wife. It's really not fair to the word "wife" to say that--what I really wanted was a butler. Someone to fix my meals and make sure I eat properly, get my clothes to the cleaners and pick them up, keep the house orderly because I work so much better in an orderly environment, do the grocery shopping, make sure the dogs get good attention, and thus help free some of my energy for the work issues on my plate and for more refreshing relaxation time.
Only if these things were combined with profound affection, respectful love and occasional romance could such a position be called a "wife." And suddenly, at least for this day, I have that "wife."
For me, it is a bit of a challenge to consent to being served this way. I've spent most of my life serving. First being that "wife," and then rearing my children and then in various school and work situations where my primary responsibility has been the success of someone else who was the responsible one. But now I'm that one. I am the primary wage-earner. I am the senior pastor of this thriving church that is experiencing so much change and transformation. I still have the privilege of serving, yet really, and truly, the buck does stop at my desk.
I sense in these hours with my Beloved the aroma of the Presence of the Spirit of God. These acts are a reminder to me that I am not alone, ever, no matter how alone I may feel on occasion. Nice things to savor on this first day of 2009.