Desperate Houselives...

For some, home is where you hang your heart. For others, home is where your heart gets hanged. Life behind closed doors can be a brutal battleground. It’s alarming how many people just avoid home like the plague. They would rather work another shift than go home and encounter their family. They would rather get involved with the children’s ministry at church than interact with their own children. They would rather pray with their pastor than with their wife.

The truth be known, most people cringe when they start getting honest about the home front. They dance around questions with vague generalities and evasive responses. Especially when a member of the family is standing right there just as eager to hear their “beloved’s” response as the person inquiring. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in conversations where I ask a question and the spouse listening in to the conversation says something like, “Yeah, I’ve been wondering that myself lately?” or “Is that right? Well, that’s news to me!” I usually back-peddle and find a conversation piece that invites less disaster.

I’ll never forget a time that a family in our church invited our family out for dinner at a restaurant. It had come to that moment of awkward silence when everyone is wondering who’s going to pray before the meal. Sometimes I just take the awkwardness by the horns and volunteer my pastoral services. Other times, I feel that to be presumptuous and wait for the one who initiated the encounter to set the stage. This was such a time. When the silence was reaching a borderline disturbing level, the father tilted his head and sheepishly offered to pray. As we were thoughtlessly bowing our heads, his son piped in, “Oh yeah, dad! Gotta’ pray before the meal when the pastor’s around. What a fine time to start acting all spiritual.” I tried to fake like I was interpreting his comments as a bit of friendly sarcastic jesting among friends, but I could tell by the father’s ever-whitening face that those words did not fall on the secure ears of a spiritual leader. He responded with a jaw-clenched chuckle and something like, “Shut up, kid!” Needless to say, I kept my head bowed and my eyes closed like a good little Baptist boy and pretended like I didn’t hear a thing out of the ordinary.

Many homes are full of laughter and friendship. They enjoy mutual respect and unconditional love. But a lot of homes are anything but peaceful. Kids are screaming. Parents are irritable. Marriages are hanging by a thread. Money is tight. And you want to know the worst thing…no one knows because when they hit the church doors problems miraculously disappear. Smiles replace scowls, encouragement replaces discouragement, laughter replaces crying, and sharing replaces silence. Songs are sung. Messages are heard. Handshakes are exchanged. And people head home. The place where you hang your heart or your heart gets hanged. I wonder which home you’re heading to after church?


sam said…
I wonder what it would look like if you just started eating during that silence?

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