The subsequent love challenge sticks I chose from Tim's jar were not so exciting: Do Laundry. Pack my lunch. Make tasty dinners.
1. DO LAUNDRY? You guys. I do laundry daily. I can't stop doing it. I've tried. But I just feel compelled to keep doing it. It's a hamster wheel that I can't seem to get off. So when I read this I laughed out loud. Why would he make this a stick? But then my heart softened because I realized that by writing it on a stick, he was recognizing it as a way he felt I loved him. He was calling out a way I served him already daily. Okay humbled.
2. Pack my lunch. Easy enough. That was quick and relatively painless and sometimes I just do it now without need of a stick. This is the point isn't it? To see that loving each other extravagantly can be in the smallest and easiest of ways. To not need the love challenge because our hearts are oatmeal enough and shaped enough by God to be considering others better than ourselves.
3. Make tasty dinners. Okay then! This one got me excited. I like to cook! But since I have to do it everyday, it is hard to get motivated to try anything that takes a bunch of dishes, a lot of time, pinterest investigation, library cookbooks, a trip to the grocery store, yada yada. It just doesn't seem so sexy off the food network channel and into real life. I got myself through all the steps and made it to the first dinner, armed with my buddies Giada de Laurentis and Mario Batali. My Mr. likes Italian so how could this go wrong?
I worked really hard shaving parmesan, shaping raw sausage into meatballs, chopping onions, parsley, garlic. I simmered in the pot for a few hours. The kitchen was a mess, and the recovery would be epic, but everything was sizzling according to the correct level of sizzle required. When it came to tasting time, my anticipation had risen to a dangerous peak. Expectations are the worst, aren't they? When I asked how he liked it, he said, "It's okay."
OKAY? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?
To which I answered, "Okay" and brewed some good old bitterness inside while I went to clean up the mess of my kitchen and the mess of my heart. Tim had no clue the trap that was wrapped inside that homemade tortellini. It wasn't really about him not appreciating my effort. He did. It just wasn't really a gift for him.
I had tried. I mean really tried. But you know what ingredient I missed? I neglected to ask him what HE wanted in the first place. I ASSUMED he would like what I liked and his idea of tasty was my idea of tasty. So I picked the recipe that I really wanted and was mad at him when he (surprise!) didn't love it like I loved it.
We are so inherently selfish, even when we try to serve others, we serve them the way we want to be served. The Vincent Love Challenge was our way of trying to fix that, of getting into the other one's head so we could serve the other how they really wanted to be served. But this stick was up to interpretation, and of course I interpreted it selfishly.
I had to apologize and try again. Ask him what he meant by tasty. I hear they call that communication skills. Tim likes the simple stuff. He didn't really need a fancy cookbook. But a good old batch of my Mom's homemade spaghetti would have done the trick just fine.
Do me a favor and learn from me. Before you put all the effort into a gift, make sure that gift isn't really for yourself. Talk to love of your life and seek to understand what, really, in the name of all tortellini and spaghetti and ravioli and gnocchi, they need from you. Love them the way they need to be loved, not the way you think they should want loved. It's not about you.