It's the thought that counts. That's pretty much what 1 Samuel 16:7 says when it tells us that God judges our hearts. I am given cause to remember that . . . Valentine's Day after Valentine's Day after Valentine's Day.
I left work this week and phoned my husband to tell him I had to run a couple of errands before I got home. He asked what I wanted for dinner -- a strange question since typically we have tacos, but I said that tonight we probably needed to have BLT's because our sourdough bread would go bad if we didn't use it soon. Dave paused, said "okay," paused again, and then continued. "But there's a surprise waiting for you when you get home."
This was exciting! I spent my errand-running time anticipating all kinds of possibilities. Sometimes we have unexpected guests; that's always fun. Maybe we had an offer on our house -- even more thrilling. I knew it wouldn't be jewelry because that is never in the top 100 gifts Dave considers, but what about that car he and I found on eBay? The one that would handle our town's brick streets better than mine does? Yes, that had to be it. Oh, happy day!
When my errands were over, I drove home quickly and bounded inside -- Mary Lou Retton-like, excited for what awaited me. Dave was grinning, apparently excited to tell me about his day. So, when he began rambling on about some new diet, one that excluded bananas, I feigned interest, eagerly awaiting my "surprise."
Dave misread my pretending as genuine concern and told me he had contacted our Mazatlan friend Vicki who is totally into nutrition, dehydrators and organics. She and Dave share some nonsensically holistic view on life. Needless to say, it is not my cup of green tea.
Ten minutes later, my husband was just getting revved up. When I had heard enough about vitamins and minerals and was close to laying my head on the counter for a quick nap (not to mention, desperate to reconnect him to what was truly important), I could contain myself no longer.
"Did you say there is a surprise for me?" I blurted. Not that I'm into myself or anything, but . . . well, sometimes I'm into myself.
Imagine my "surprise" when Dave opened the refrigerator. I told myself that perhaps this was one of those follow-the-notes-until-I-find-my-car scavenger hunts. Not even close. Within 30 seconds, eight Tupperware bowls were lined up in front of me, buffet style. Dave carefully opened the lids, like there was a fragile glass cherub inside and its wings would break if he weren't delicate with it.
Each container held something different -- organic lettuce, cucumbers, celery, green onions, radishes, tomatoes, spinach, strawberries --all sliced and diced perfectly. I looked at Dave. He was actually grinning like he had just won the mega lottery.
"I told Vicki you and I are trying to lose weight. Are you surprised?"
Surprised? Would he like me to take a sledge hammer and smack him on his head? Same answer.
"Wow! This is really a shock!" I mumbled.
"Patty, do we have balsamic vinegar? Vicki said we should try that."
It just so happened that we did. Dave put a teaspoonful on his three cups of salad. I pulled the Ranch dressing out of the refrigerator and added about three cups to my teaspoon of lettuce. I was given a look to remind myself that Vicki might not be happy. She and I will talk.
It's the thought that counts, no doubt about it, and God wants me to remember that. He knows that's where real love happens. In hindsight, my husband modeled that for me that afternoon. His Valentine gift was filled with thought. Mine was filled with me.
Perhaps I'm the one who needs the sledge hammer to the head.