What I Learned from Wetting My Pants

So there I was, surrounded by church members, my pants wet, my blood boiling. This wasn’t what I needed—at least, that’s what I told myself.

The morning had started innocently enough. Shannon and I arrived at our church building later than normal. Because of the pouring rain and the packed parking lot, I said I would drop Shannon off at the front and then go park and bring our Bibles and notebooks in. (After all, with an umbrella and a raincoat at my disposal, my trek across the parking lot wouldn’t be too bad.)

Shannon didn’t want me lugging the books in the rain, so she grabbed them before heading into the building. I then parked near the back of the lot and reached for the umbrella.

It wasn’t there. Not in the back seat…not in the front seat. Not anywhere. Shannon must have taken it inside with her.

Okay. No big deal. I still had my raincoat, and thanks to my memory of a once-watched YouTube video, I had learned the trick to staying relatively dry while traveling in the rain: walking instead of running. With this scientific knowledge, I got out of the car and leisurely made my way indoors.

I’m not the best scientist—and, evidently, not the most attentive YouTube video watcher. As I later discovered, I hadn’t correctly remembered that walking is actually less effective than running in the rain. I had inadvertently given the weather just enough time to turn my jeans into a pair of swimming trunks.

If you’re laughing (or even just smiling), know that in the moment it was no laughing matter. Do you realize how uncomfortable it is to move around in wet jeans? It’s about as fun as trying to take a shower while dressed in a suit.

Making my way to the second row, I found Shannon—and our umbrella. Our dry, unused umbrella, lying peacefully on the floor. The music had already begun, so I tried focusing on the words.

But words are cheap, especially when your legs are being constantly hugged by a blanket of wet denim. I considered driving home and changing pants, but that would mean missing at least 40 more minutes of the service. I even briefly contemplated putting my jeans in the church’s kitchen oven to dry them off, but that wouldn’t work. With few realistic options at my disposal, I went to the bathroom and tried using paper towels to dry myself off. I ended up with several wet paper towels and pants that were still maddeningly moist.

Back in the sanctuary, I found myself becoming increasingly angry. Why did Shannon take the umbrella with her? Didn’t she know I would need it? Now I would be stuck with damp legs for the duration of the service. I probably wouldn’t get anything out of the sermon.

As my legs became more chilled in the air-conditioned building, my affection for Shannon grew colder and colder. Soon, I dreaded the next time I had to interact with her. I just knew I would say something harsh that I would later regret. As far as I was concerned, the morning—and probably the day—was ruined.

Finally, having exhausted my pitifully limited resources, I prayed in desperation, Lord, I can’t stop being angry about this. Will you please help me to view this situation rightly? I can’t do this on my own. And please let my pants dry quickly so that I can focus during the sermon.

The answer was almost immediate. Like every sinner in history who has a life-changing encounter with the living God, I experienced two things at once: an awakened conscience and a heightened awareness of grace. My inner monologue—inspired, I am sure, by the Holy Spirit—went something like this:

Cap, you’re being selfish. You’re hopping mad because Shannon didn’t do exactly what you wanted. Do you think she took the umbrella on purpose? She likely grabbed it along with the Bibles and notebooks because she didn’t want you to have to walk across the parking lot carrying an armload of items in the rain.

Besides, have you forgotten what your marriage illustrates? As Shannon’s husband, you are called to lay down your life for her as Christ did for His bride. It was His privilege to absorb the wrath of God on your behalf. For the joy set before Him, He endured the suffering of the cross.

Before I even knew it, my heart’s posture had changed from anger to joy. Would I want Shannon to have gotten soaked so that I could stay dry? Of course not. It was a privilege to have my wife safe and dry by my side. Though my act of parking the car was miniscule when compared to Christ’s servanthood, my wet pants were a badge of honor (and stupidity, yes). If Christ took the heat of God’s wrath so that I might be spared, why could I not even rejoice that I absorbed some raindrops so my wife could stay dry?

God took a modest trial to remind me just how great His love is. It changed my perspective of my situation. It changed my attitude toward my wife. And it filled my heart with greater joy in the goodness of the gospel of God.

Comments

Steve Martin said…
It's amazing how the situation can turn around once we think it through in light of the gospel.

Brendan Anderson said…
Cap, this article forced me to think about your pants for slightly longer than was comfortable for me...

However, eternal perspective is indeed perfection in times like this - there's nothing quite like putting yourself in someone else's pants...I mean, shoes. Especially when that someone is Jesus Christ.

Keep writing my friend - I sincerely enjoy the weekly thoughts of Happier Far!
Your Brother said…
Cap, that post was awesome. I loved it. Funny, simple and helpful.
Cap Stewart said…
Indeed, Steve. The gospel is the best--and only--lens through which to view the world.

I'm glad you enjoy the blog, Brendan (even if you don't like reading so much about my pants). Thank you for reading!

Danny, thanks for the encouraging feedback (both here and on the phone).