Together is Better

Upon getting up one day, I was mad, mad at my husband. Super mad. I did not like the habit of his to be late, very late or a little late, but late anyhow.

I preferred Princess Diana’s way. She could be late because of who she was, but she was always on time or earlier. Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable. This is a way to show love and gives the message, “I care about you.”

When my daughter Diesa was at Marist college in Poughkeepsie, part of the Red Foxes basketball team, they had a rigorous training schedule. They had to be on the court or the gym at 5 am, which meant be there 15 minutes earlier for warm up. If they were late, they had to do push-ups. This has stayed with her for her whole life. She is always early for appointments.

Of course, Dietrich’s mom (Oma) knew of her son’s habit of being late, because whenever we were invited to her favorite restaurant, or any other place, it was hard to make it on time. One day Oma noticed I was frustrated and gave me some advice: “In these circumstances take your purse and go. Do not wait for him.” Nice advice when your mother-in-law takes your side!

We were living in the woods one hour from Vienna. That morning, Dietrich was preparing to go to Vienna to teach at the Vienna International University, and I was supposed to go to the city with him. As usual things got scrambled and hurried, and I knew my husband was going to speed all the way to the capital, leaving me in a state of anxiety.

So that morning I took my purse and went. I not only took my purse, but I took the car as well, so he was left without transportation. He had to walk to the train station, change trains and get the subway. He would not be on time for his class for sure, and because of that, he was very mad as well.

Meanwhile I was climbing in the Vienna woods with the car, almost surprised by my actions. But I did not feel comfortable with the negative emotions stirring in my heart.

I was climbing up to the famous Hohe Wand, fuming all the way there. It is about 1000 meters high with a breathtaking view well loved by the Viennese for weekends or holidays.

I started walking away through the evergreens, trying to pray for the day, but was not doing so well. Then I found a hut, as you always do when you go through the paths in the Vienna woods. I decided to have some breakfast there. It was still in the early hours of the morning, so no guests were there yet.

I started feeling awkward as the owner was staring at me not understanding my German. He was wondering, “Why is she here by herself at this early hour, alone when everybody still in bed, and she can’t even speak the language.”

The breakfast that day was not tasting so good. In fact, it was tasting almost bad. There was no flavor, no warmth to it. It tasted cold and unappealing. I was starting to feel all alone, from lonely to miserable. Was it worth all the drama? Could there be another way? I was feeling I was right and my husband was wrong. But is it not that we can let the right go, for the sake of peace?

I was not too proud of myself. I had to make a plan to become smarter than him, because deep inside I never wanted to fight. I like harmony and peace. So that day I made up my mind that I would say the time of all my appointments will be half an hour earlier. I will change the time with Dietrich and then relax and still be on time for my schedule.

Let’s not react with toxic emotions. I never liked to fight with my husband. Neither did he. The hardships and difficulties made us grow. To attain a better character and lifestyle we should learn to harmonize with each other and always make peace. Together is better.

Elisabeth Seidel

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