children, faith, marriage, parenthood

Lessons from a Broken Window: People Are More Important Than Stuff

My boys broke a window pane while wrestling. One lunged at the other. The other ducked, and the window got the raw end of the deal.

I couldn’t very well be angry since I accidentally broke my parent’s window as a child.

I actually found the whole thing rather amusing.

I put plastic over it with intentions of repairing it.

That was last April.

As I’ve mentioned before, my plans rarely happen on my timetable as I’m at the mercy of my health.

The afternoon after the window broke, I stepped on a nail and ended up with a streaking read infection. A week later, I twisted my ankle.

The entire summer was one health crisis after another.

Fast forward to October, the weekend before last to be precise. I was finally feeling well enough to attempt to address the window.

I thought I could do it alone, but I was wrong. The frame as cracked making it beyond my scope of experience and beyond what information I could find  online.

I turned to my husband for help.

Next thing I knew, we were arguing. That’s actually really uncommon for us. We hardly ever quarrel.

It was supposed to be a relaxing day at home. I was the one who had decided to try to fix the window. It was his prerogative to not want to fix the window when we had planned to have a relaxing day.

I shouldn’t have pushed. I do that sometimes.

But, I was angry because I wanted to fix the window. Today.

That’s when this verse came to mind:

Or, in my case, “Better is a broken window in a peaceful house than a fixed window in a house with argueing.”

So, I let the window go and apologized.

I decided that my husband and our relationship was more important than fixing a broken window.

If I continued to pressure him when it clearly upset him, I would be, in affect, comminicating to him that I believe the window is more important than he is.

This is something the Lord has been really working on in me: valuing people over stuff.

If, when my children broke the window, I had made a bigger deal about the condition of the window than the condition of the child whose hand went through the window [he was fine, by the way], then I would have communicated to my children that I placed more importance on an inanimate object than on people with eternal souls.

I think we do that a lot.

I know I do.

We get so wrapped up in our things that we get upset when our things get damaged or mistreated. Or, we yell when our things are not cared for to our standards.

I’m not suggesting that we should be irresponsible or let others be irresponsible.

I’m simply saying that we shouldn’t let things that are not eternal take priority over things that are.

All this stuff around us will burn one day.
The only thing we will take with us is our souls. Souls and character are all that last.

At the end of the day, I want my children to be heavenly minded and to hold the things of this earth loosely. I want them to treasure the eternal things.

My children are more likely to do that if they see me doing it in my life.

So, I’m learning to let go.

I still remember when my 10 month old firstborn stood up in his high chair, reached over and grabbed my antique bowl-and-pitcher set that I had saved for and finally bought. (It had been out of reach, but he had just figured out how to scoot the high chair across the wood floor.)

As soon as he grabbed it, it went crashing to the floor as his little hands weren’t strong enough to hold it.

It hit the floor in crashing, cracking, and shattering. My poor little baby promptly burst into tears. That was a loud and unexpected noise.

In that moment, I had a choice. I could have gone for my precious antique, mourned its loss, and ignored the screaming baby who had just damaged one of my favorite possessions.

Or, I could comfort the confused, wailing child.

I chose the latter.

I comforted the confused child, moved the high chair away from the sidetable with the antique decorations, and made a mental note that I needed to work some more on the whole don’t-stand-in-the-high-chair thing.

I won’t lie: I was pretty upset about that pitcher-and-bowl set. I even shed a few tears over it.

But, this incendent was the beginning of God teaching me to choose things with souls over things without souls.

I believe I can never go wrong making this choice.

Eternal over the earthly any day. Everyday.


Sarah Forbes


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