For the third year in a row, my family and I decided to go camping during the week after Father’s day, so we packed everything up into the minivan last Monday, June 16th. As usual, we had been very busy the weekend before our trip, helping with the church landscaping project that Saturday (contrary to the journalistic inaccuracy by Greg Saucerman), along with our regular Sunday ministries and the Father’s day baseball activity that afternoon. So with a great amount of weariness and effort we managed to get set up at our camp site in time for lunch Monday afternoon, followed by a less-than-relaxing afternoon of play for the older kids and nap-time for the youngest. While the week before Father’s day was characterized by mild temperatures and low humidity, the week following was warm and muggy with the threat of thunderstorms every day, especially over night. When night arrived we put the children to bed and moved all of our food and other supplies into the minivan, having learned by experience how strongly raccoons were attracted to anything smelling of human food, and then we prepared ourselves for bed. As the evening wore on, the predicted storms began to move into our area, and we paid close attention to the weather radar on our cellular phones.
Before midnight it began to rain lightly and we noticed the wind beginning to pick up, but the radar still showed all of the severe weather some distance to the west, near Madison, so we dozed and waited to see just how severe it would get. We were not completely unprepared for a storm. Earlier in the evening we had put the rain fly on our tent and through my parents made arrangements for shelter at the Lake Mills EMS garage, if it became necessary to leave the campground. At midnight we were warned by another family at the campground that a tornado warning had been issued for the area, as they left their campsite to find shelter in town. Although we had heard a siren just minutes before, I remained somewhat skeptical since I had been monitoring the National Weather Service website and it was not showing any warnings for our area. Nevertheless, we decided to wake up the children, leave our tent behind, and drive into town to take shelter from the storm. Nothing remarkable happened the rest of the evening, and the children slept while my wife and I tried to rest in a pair of overstuffed recliners. Needless to say, it was not a restful start to our camping getaway.
Later, I admitted to my wife that if it had been up to me, I would have just waited things out inside the tent, rather than seeking shelter at the EMS garage, which seemed to disturb her quite a bit. She wasn’t upset that I was cavalier enough to do such a thing (I think she probably knew it all along), but it bothered her that I had just given in to her obvious desire to get out of the tent and inside a building for protection without even voicing my own opinion. I don’t have the space to detail everything that went through my mind, but I can say that I have learned a Biblical truth in the nearly 10 years I have been married to this wonderful woman. Peter tells husbands in 1 Peter 3:7 to “dwell with [your wife] with understanding, giving honor to [her] as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” It didn’t take very much for me to see that night that while I may have disagreed with what I considered to be my wife’s overly cautious reaction to the storm, and she probably would have followed my lead in staying at the campsite, I would not have been following Peter’s instruction to understand my wife’s unique perspective and needs.
It wasn’t cowardice or a refusal to lead my wife that motivated my silent disagreement, it was love and a desire to apply Biblical wisdom to make the most of a less-than-relaxing vacation. For the record, she was probably right, and her wariness toward danger often balances out my temptation to throw caution to the wind. For God’s blessing of a wise and thoughtful wife, I am truly grateful.