A chalkboard on the kitchen wall was exactly what I thought we needed – a big, obvious place to keep track of things. A clear place in plain view that would help each family member know the schedules, upcoming events, and important family communications.
The master-planner. Family scheduler. The Motherboard.
So I bought that lovely chalkboard paint and some wood trim to frame it out and started the project when my husband was away on one of his many business trips.
Upon his arrival, he was not impressed with my yet unfinished product…. Well, he was, just not in the way I’d hoped. For him, it was too big, too obtrusive, and way too black. He went to the store, bought some more lovely chalk board paint and made it smaller and changed the color.
We have a problem in our relationship – my husband is much more visually conservative than I am. Neither of us would ever be described as flamboyant, but I like color and personality much more than he does. And I’m willing to take decorating risks that he is not.
Enter conflict. That under-the-radar kind that can surprise you and knock you for a loop. That kind that seems to lurk in the shadows and gnaw or grind away at peace and harmony. In many ways these seemingly insignificant disputes can have bigger and more dramatic effects on relationships than those big, major issues ever could.
We do fine with the big stuff – we face it together, pray, and build one another up in the heat of the battle. But this stuff, well, if we’re not careful, we can beat each other up.
Who knew that a stupid chalk board could cause so much discord? After some serious consideration, I painted over it to be rid of the stupid thing. Yes I liked the idea of the Motherboard, but not enough to have marital divergence over. I thought it would be over, but boy was I wrong.
Misunderstanding, impugned motives, accusations and lots of sin got uncovered with my brush strokes. Rather than making something go away, we had a chalk board explosion. It was not pretty.
But, in the end, after about an hour of trying to figure out how to not talk past one another, we both were able to hear one another’s hearts. I understood that he was upset that I hadn’t asked his opinion on a more permanent fixture in the house and he understood that he needs to ease up on restrictions on my artistic license.
We both were able to really see how we had been looking at the specks in one another’s eyes without noticing the logs in our own. It’s ironic that focusing on the speck in someone else’s eye will always prevent us from realizing that we have a log poking out of our own – but it does.
We apologized. We sought and gave forgiveness.
The chalkboard has been restored to its modified status of not-so-big and not-so-black. It will serve its purpose as family communication central.
But it will also serve as a daily reminder that we can love through even the dumbest, but deepest of conflicts if we’re willing to have soft hearts and teachable spirits. It will remind us to look in the mirror before we point any fingers.
Hmmm, mirrors…. Maybe I could put a few on there as embellishment…. On second thought, maybe I should ask if he’d object to that, first….