My husband and I have a meeting place when the workday is done. It’s the kitchen. We plop atop the counter stools and share a few tidbits about our day. As of late, there’s been a shift I have to admit.
It happens in the early moments of our conversations. Suddenly, there is this awful grinding sound. The first time it happened, I looked up and paused. I simply stopped talking and remained silent until he had completed his rendezvous at the fridge ice machine.
Certainly it was a freak incident is what I initially thought…until, it happened again. This time, not only did I pause, but drilled my eyes directly into the back of the noise maker’s head. Much to my chagrin, it was to no avail.
Pretty sure that the number of times this has happened is now in double digits. It’s becoming quite personal. In fact, I’m starting to think he’s doing it just to bug me.
No longer do I mention it. Rather, I continue to press pause in the conversation hoping he will notice that he has interrupted ours. To date, he is unaware.
When I stop to think about it, it’s not his thirst that bugs me nor is it that the ice maker grinds away for minutes at a time LOUDLY. Rather, the fact that he remains quite oblivious to doing it when I’m talking and not bothered by it one bit!
Well, tonight is the night I’m going to try it out on him and see how he likes it. Yes, that’s it. That’s what I’m going to do. I’ll let you know how it goes. Be back later!
I’m back. He walked in the door, but moments before he did, I received holy inspiration. On a whim, I decided not to respond with an eye for an eye, but rather, chose mercy and grace. Opening the cupboard door, I was plum proud to fill up his large glass with ice and water so he would not have to. There! Irritant solved! We sat down for conversation and enjoyed it without interruption.
Uninterrupted the evening was going until I just couldn’t help myself. Mid-sentence, I popped up and sauntered over to the fridge. Grinding away was the ice machine all the while he was talking. I stopped just long enough to ask him another question. Right when he began to answer, I started grinding the ax, so to speak.
Several times I did this, but the worst part about it was he appeared not to notice nor did he act irritated. It didn’t bother him in the least that the conversation was massively interrupted with noise! This led me to one conclusion. The man I married is a far better person than I.
Or not…as once supper was over and he’d unburdened the trash from the trash can in house, out of the room he sauntered still unaware that anything had been irritating me. Nice man, I thought. Way bigger than I, thought I. It was then I lifted the lid on the trash can to toss an item in, and low and behold, he’d not replaced the bag in the container he’d just emptied!
He is either way nicer than I, or out smarting me at my own game of irritation. No matter…just wait until tomorrow night when I ask him to bring out the trash and I’ll have filled it with everything but another trash bag. We’ll see about this!
“If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Matt. 5:39).
If anyone grinds ice when talking, don’t do likewise. When someone leaves the garbage bag out of the garbage can, turn and get one to replace it yourself. Assume the best and “forgive those who trespass against us”…even when they don’t do so on purpose (Matt. 6:12). Amen.
Kathleen Kjolhaug, OblSB
This article was first published in Theology in the Trenches, a column written by oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug. Posted with permission. Read more articles on her blog, Theology in the Trenches.