Saturday, May 19, 2012

The parable of the car seat

Lora and I had our first big conflict, and not surprisingly, it was about Benjamin.  A few weeks ago, Lora was with her Mom and in their pickup.  She mentioned that she was able to strap the car seat in without the base and that it felt more secure than it did with the car seat base.

I was wise enough at the time to not make a big deal about it, but I was thinking that that was a mistake.  You shouldn't try to fit and strap something as important as a car seat in a way that it wasn't intended.  Fast forward to last night.  She mentions the plan to pick up the table she bought at the D.I. by trading our car for the pickup at the temple where Lora's parents left it.  She said, lets just not try to move over the base and strap it in the same way as I did last time.  I was silent.  She got angry because she felt that I didn't trust her with our son's life.  I could understand why she felt that way, but I just couldn't feel comfortable using the car seat in a way that it wasn't designed for.  We kind of let it go and went to sleep.  Today, when we got to the temple parking lot she asked about it again. I said I wasn't comfortable with it and just moved the base over to the pickup.  It didn't help anything that it was really easy to do.  She was really mad at me because I didn't even ask to see her way.  Again about the trust.  She let me know how she felt.  I let her know that I felt justified and that I shouldn't have to feel guilty about not wanting to do it in a way that it wasn't designed for.  She tried to rebut with the fact that car seats didn't always have bases, but had frequently been strapped in without them.  I didn't know how to say anything that didn't make her sound like she didn't know what she was talking about.  Of course car seats had been strapped in without bases.  My point was that they had been designed for that, but how can you trust a car seat to keep a baby safe if you don't use it how it was designed to be used, and furthermore, it might even be a risk of getting a ticket.

She was giving me the silent treatment, and I was trying not to be affected by it.  We arrived home after picking up the new table.  I could see that it wasn't good to let things lie, so I asked, "OK, can you show me how you were going to strap it down?"  She didn't want to get into it.  It was too late for that because I hadn't even trusted her enough to even let her show me before.  Seeing it now wouldn't change that.  We had some more tentative back and forth with things that I don't even remember.  Lora finally showed me that she used these notches that looked like they were supposed to be used for that purpose.  I looked at them and was surprised to see them there.  I looked down at the picture of the instructions and saw that, surprise of surprises, the seat was designed to be strapped down without the base and she had done it the correct way.

Now I felt the egg all over may face.  I don't know why I had assumed that her way was not how it was designed to be used.  If I would have thought about it in terms of what was possible and not in terms of whether I was justified, I would have probably realized that of course a car seat can be strapped down correctly without the base.  Who would want a car seat that didn't?  The way she had described it the first time for some reason sounded like she had done something not intended and I was stuck on that assumption. This isn't to say that it was her fault.  It was definitely my fault for making the assumption, and it was definitely my fault for not even letting her show me her way.  I don't know why I wasn't even willing to look at how she would have done it.  If I had even an inkling that her way was how it was designed to be used, there would have been no problem whatsoever; and letting her show me her way would have quickly demonstrated that it was correct.  Part of it was, in all of my thinking and justifying, that either way wouldn't be that much different in how hard or how much time, and I wanted to show her that, and so I just said no and switched the base.

Fortunately, when she saw that I was dead wrong by looking at the instructions and that I was pretty embarrassed, she wasn't angry anymore.  Gloating, yes.  Angry, thank goodness no.  I guess she had earned the right to gloat.

This whole thing reminded me of a religious talk I heard once.  I don't remember who gave it.  He talked about how he had learned to trust his wife, even with things that made no sense.  I don't remember the specifics, but it was in things like using the washer and dryer, you had to do a certain trick.  To him, that trick made no sense.  It didn't seem bound by the any laws of physics, yet his wife insisted, and when you did the trick, it worked.  There was one day the he was in the garage and needed to clean up something with the vacuum.  It wasn't starting when he turned it on.  He called into the house and asked his wife about it.  She called back that you had to step in the bucket.  Again, this made no sense to him whatsoever.  How would having a foot in the bucket make the vacuum start.  So he did as she had told him, having trust, but not understanding.  It didn't work.  He called into the house and said as much.  She came out, looked at him and asked, "What in the world are you doing?  I told you that you had to flip on the breaker."

I think that his talk was about following the Lord even when some paths he leads make no sense to us now.  Also on making sure we come to understand his will clearly.  I think about the trust that this man had for his wife, despite his own experience and knowledge.  Today showed that I didn't have that kind of trust for my wife.  I hope I can show her that trust in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Hehe. I remember that talk. Always listen to your amazing wife. :)

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