Welcome to Tensionville

Tensionville.

You set out on a serene journey to Peaceland, or maybe Contentment City, and somehow without even realizing it you end up in Tensionville.

This is apparently where my wife and I spent this last weekend.  Without even really knowing it.  Without even knowing each other was there.  Just knowing that we were really, really irritated with each other, ourselves, our kids, and life in general; and for no particular reason.

We finally realized it over coffee on the front porch this morning when Cheryl said, “I woke up last night with this sense of just . . . dread.  I have no idea where it came from.  I don’t know, but I’ve been feeling just . . . down, all weekend.”

And I went, “Hmm, me too.  Really irritable.  For no real reason.”

And Cheryl went, “Hmm, me too.”

And we both went, “Hmm.”

How did we get here?

We had just spent the weekend in Tensionville.

I said earlier that we hadn’t even known each other was there, but that’s not entirely true.  We snapped and barked at each other occasionally; growled at the kids; and threw our hands in the air when we realized what a mess the house was. (It wasn’t . . . well, no more so than usual, but you get what I mean.)  So we knew, to ourselves, that something was up.

Yet it wasn’t until this morning that we actually talked to each other about it.

And we both went, “Hmm.”

I’ve heard an old adage about different life situations where one event loads the gun and another event pulls the trigger.  As Cheryl and I talked, we realized that, though we had hair triggers all weekend, we couldn’t really pinpoint any incident that “loaded the gun.”

So if she didn’t do anything.

And if I didn’t do anything.

And the kids didn’t do anything.

Who did?

Who would want us to have a lousy weekend in Tensionville for no particular reason?  Who would want to keep us from connecting to each other? Connecting with our kids?  Keep us from reaching out to friends?  Or feeling like we hadn’t gotten anything accomplished and just wasted the whole weekend?

And we both went, “Hmm.”

And the enemy went, “Oh crap, they’re on to me!”

And we decided to pray about it.

And the enemy went, “Damn, I hate when they do that!”

And slowly we began to feel better as we could finally see the “Welcome to Tensionville” sign growing smaller in the rear view mirror, and the road to anywhere else unfurling before us.

. . . . at least for now.

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