Details.

I am a detail girl.

I remember details.

Lots of them.

Most of what I remember is what has had a great emotional impact on me.

I can remember the exact date when my husband asked me to be his girlfriend.
(Um. We were young. So yeah, you can laugh. Cheesy, I know.)
I remember what time it was and where we were.
I remember what I ordered on our first date and the movie we saw.

I remember the car that I rode in to the hospital to have my first son.
And exactly what I was wearing, down to my shoes.
(And no, I was never the one who ‘planned’ her wardrobe for the hospital.
I wore what I was wearing that day.
Because I was a little busy worrying about being in labor and all…)

I distinctly remember the smell of my mom’s perfume.
And the sound of her breathing in her hospice bed.
And her last words to me.
And exactly where I was standing when she said them.

I remember a lot of details.

Sometimes it’s a good thing.
Sometimes it’s a bad thing.

At church we are in a series talking about relationships.

This week was on forgiveness.
On ‘keeping no record of wrongs.’

That’s a hard one for me.
Really hard.

How in the world is it possible to keep no record of wrongs?
How?

You know, if I am honest, I tend to keep records.
I remember wrongs done to me.
I remember decades of wrongs done to me.
Big and small.

I sometimes wish that God could take the memory of wrongs away from you when you choose to forgive.
That would be so much easier.

So much easier.

Especially with the big stuff.

What I am talking about right now though is the small stuff.
The petty stuff.
The annoyances.

The toilet seat left up.
The careless words.
The forgetting your anniversary.

The ‘I did way more for you than you did for me today’ days.
The ‘I’ve been trying so hard and you are not even trying at all’ arguments.

My husband had a boss one time who followed him around with a clipboard writing down all the things he did wrong on it.
No joke.
It was heartless.
It was awful.

And to be honest, there are times I go around with a mental clipboard waiting to write down all the faults of someone close to me.
Only to bring them up again and again and again.

“On December 12th, you did this to me. It hurt! I can’t believe you did that”
“You said this five weeks ago to me. It hurt! I can’t believe you said that”

When I do that, I am no better than that boss.
No better at all.

You can find bad in anyone.
Find all kinds of faults, big and small.
Hang it over their heads.
Point it out to them.
Focus on all that junk.

But what good does it do?
To them?
To you?
To your relationship?

Several months ago I read about an old man who had been married for 50+ years.
And he shared something he did.
He decided to write a list of things he admired most about his spouse.
Wrote down everything positive he could ever think of.
Kept adding to the list as the years went by.
And when he was angry with his spouse, he would pull out the list and read it.

I thought it was a bit corny, but I did it too.
I did.

Now I have this three-page-long list printed out.

Three pages of amazing qualities and characteristics of the incredible man I married.
Three pages of a record I would rather keep than one of his wrongs.

Three pages of who he truly is.

In your relationships, keep records of the amazing qualities.
On the good.
Not the bad.

It can be the relationship with your kids.
Your parents.
Your spouse.
The in-laws.
Doesn’t matter.

Let the little annoyances go.
Don’t get hung up on the petty.

Be understanding.
Give grace.

Choose to love.

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