It was always a crap shoot as far as who my tablemates would be. Sometimes I ate fast to escape the carping of a fellow teacher who just wanted an audience for his or her bellyaching. Sometimes just the right combination of people were at the table so it seemed more like a party than a 20-minute cram-the-food-in-your-face-and-run lunch session.
But occasionally, when the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars, I’d be lucky enough to be at the same table as Myron, an art teacher at the college. He was a quiet, soft-spoken man of incredible talent—an effective, respected teacher. And a wonderful lunch-table companion. I’d always feel like a more enlightened person after I ate lunch with him.
I remember one conversation in particular. It was years ago by now—years. But I still remember what he said. Somehow the conversation had turned to the subject of marriage.
“When I come home,” Myron said in his thoughtful, quiet voice, “I feel like I’ve entered a haven. My wife makes my home a haven.”
I don’t remember what I replied. Knowing me, it was probably something inappropriate like, “Well, my goal is to make my husband’s home a hell-hole.” Whatever I said in response is immaterial. All I know is that word ‘haven’ has stuck with me all these years.
Haven. A harbor, a place where ships may shelter from the weather. A sanctuary, a place of safety.
I think about that conversation every time Tom walks through the door and I shriek like a fishwife, “The dryer smells like burning wires!” instead of “Welcome home, my darling.” Or if I warn, “Don’t track on the floor—I just washed it,” instead of “I’m so glad you’re home, sweet love of my life.”
‘The dryer smells funny?!?’ ‘Don’t track on the floor?!?’ Ye gads, not something a Haven-Creator would say.
So Myron’s wife inadvertently set the marital bar high for me, even though I rarely measure up. And I'm not being modest; I rarely measure up. But I can’t think of any compliment greater for a spouse than to have a partner sit at a lunchroom table of co-workers and quietly use the word ‘haven’ when describing ‘home.’