Years ago my friend, Darla, told me about a story she read in the newspaper that provided a life lesson and carried a profound message for her marriage.
The police were called to the home of an elderly couple. They found the wife sitting calmly in a rocking chair on the front porch, the husband dead on the floor inside the house. If the narrative ended here it would just be one more elderly widow left to finish out her life alone, but there is more to the story. After finding the body of the husband and the hammer that had been used to kill him, the officers questioned the widow.
“Why did you do it?” they asked.
“For all the little things,” she replied.
“All the little things”…it makes you wonder how much it takes to be pushed over the edge. How many years can the little irritations be tolerated? How much can be overlooked and learned to be lived with? How many years does it take to build up the frustration that will make you snap?
Darla and I joked about keeping a hammer in a glass case that we could break in case of emergency. The spouse and I both occasionally will say “Where’s the hammer?” in a moment of frustration with each other. The spouse and I celebrated our forty year anniversary in August; Darla and her husband have been married even longer. I sporadically think about that elderly woman with the hammer and remind myself to let go of the little irritations.
The universe has once again provided a life lesson.