The other night I had made tea for my wife, she was due home at 6pm.
I phoned work but she had left. She hadn’t phoned me so she either didn’t want to or she couldn’t. I didn’t know what to do.
I worried a little.
I waited a while then I called her again.
Was she stuck at work in a boring meeting that she couldn’t get out of ?
Or is she stuck in traffic in the pouring rain in sight of a multi-car pile up. I imagine that for a moment, maybe she can see the blue flashing lights and the bent cars and bodies.
Or had she gone to the pub with colleagues, having a good time while I was sitting here worrying about her. Is she having a good laugh without you. Imagine that for a moment that your partner is having a good time without you.
Which is it? How should I feel? How should I cope with not knowing what to do?
You see, not knowing what to do is a problem, in this case not knowing what to think is a problem that has repercussions.
If I assume that she’s stuck in a meeting or held up by an accident I think in a particular way that makes me feel a bit anxious but it affects how I feel towards her. I feel sorry for her I feel that she’s having a bad time.
If I assume that she’s stopped off at a bar with colleagues on the way home from work then my thoughts can easily stray towards jealousy and mistrust. If I feel that way then my thoughts are not ones of compassion and love they are almost the opposite.
It matters how I choose to think about this because when she walks through that door my attitude to her will be coloured by the feelings that I have been feeling towards her. And I might be wrong. And those feelings have created an attitude that is completely wrong.
She didn’t turn up so 20 minutes later, not knowing what to do, I ate my meal in silent thought.
Actually she had called off at the supermarket. It always takes longer than she thinks, I gave a hug and a kiss when she came back and warmed up her meal. I fed her and we talked about the day.