“Ratchet” TV Hits Home

Monday night in our home and in the home of some of our friends is referred to as “Ratchet” (the real word is “wretched”) TV Night. It’s on Monday that we sit down to watch reality TV shows that are sometimes violent, ridiculous, mind-boggling, and just an all-around hot mess. Most people I know who watch, like me, entertain the reality TV foolishness because it is mindless for us – plots, storylines, and characters that warrant little to no higher-order thinking skills. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that the storylines are scripted, and the interactions are mostly staged.

On tonight’s episode, one of the newest cast members learned what his prison sentence would be for charges he had received after he was pulled over by police and found with marijuana in his vehicle. While the offense seemed minor, it was a felony charge because in the state of Georgia traveling in a vehicle with marijuana is considered trafficking. The charge carried a minimum prison sentence of 5 years and could result in a maximum of 30 years in prison, along with a $100,000 fine. The judge, after saying he would be as lenient as possible, sentenced the defendant to 20 years, 5 of which were to be served in prison and the last 15 in probationary status as long as the $100,000 fine is paid.

Because my husband sometimes watches the show with me, I sent him a text to update him on the happenings. I was shocked at the sentence, but my decision to never smoke an illegal substance was also validated. I know adults in their late 30s and 40s who are complete weed-heads, meaning they smoke weed regularly, as if they are still young college students just looking for a quick high. These are people with jobs, kids, serious responsibilities, who risk all of those things for a high.

My husband, after 15 minutes, comes upstairs and sits on the couch. I said, “Did you get my text about the sentence?”

He says yes. Then he says with much hesitation, “I…I have to go to my friend’s house.” (We will call this friend Bill for the sake of this blog.)

I normally don’t have many questions when my husband decides to hang out with his friends, but this particular time, I suspected there was more to the story. His hesitation and timing just didn’t seem quite right.

“Why do you have to go to Bill’s house?” I inquire.

“I have to go there to get something for Jake (a pseudonym for another friend my husband has known since college),” my husband responds. He doesn’t look at me, and all kinds of questions go through my mind.

What is he hiding? Who is he really going to see? Why does he need to go out so late at night? Why is he making deliveries all of a sudden when both Bill and Jake have vehicles?

“What is it that you have to pick up from Bill?” I ask.

And then he gives a response that he knows will send up red flags for me. “Don’t worry about what I have to pick up.”

The red flag was so vivid for me that I could literally see it waving above his head. I felt my blood pressure rising and my mind was twirling. I know this man isn’t about to do what I think he’s about to do. Is this a freaking joke?

Because I knew that Jake was one of the weed-heads I spoke of earlier, I immediately knew this conversation wasn’t going to be a good one…and I was right. The conversation moved quickly. “Is it weed?” He looked at me and then said, “Yeah.”

“HELL NO,” I screamed. “Are you fucking insane!? You are kidding me, right!? Are you kidding me with this bullshit right now!? You’re not that fucking stupid!?”

Now, I know it’s not Godly to use profanity toward my husband, and none of the rhetorical questions I asked would have come from the mouth of a virtuous woman, but I lost my shit. I completely lost it. I was thinking more things than I could think to say. I had so many questions:

This is way too much of a coincidence. Is this real?

Why does my husband think this is okay?

Have we not talked about changes we have to make in our lives, especially now that we are married?

What kind of friend would allow someone to risk their lives for such a stupid reason?

Is he planning to smoke weed with them?

Is he secretly a drug dealer and I had no idea?

What would have happened it he had gotten stopped by the police?

Does he not realize he could face jail time for this? 

Would the cops believe that the weed isn’t for him and that he’s just a freaking delivery boy?

Is this story he’s telling me the truth?

How many times has he done this in the past?

How can I trust that he makes good decisions when he leaves home if he’s now coming to me with this bullshit?

My mind was flooded with questions, and even though I was genuinely concerned about the current state of our marriage, I couldn’t verbalize that at the time. I didn’t know what emotion to feel first: anger, hatred, stupidity, betrayal, worry. I wanted to hug him and slap him all at the same time, but all that came out was a threat:

“Hell fucking no. I wish you would leave this house to do some stupid shit. Are you crazy? You call Jake and tell him no right now. Or Bill. Either one of them. Call them and tell them you can’t go! Even if you have to tell them your woman said no. Do you need me to do it for you? Here, let me do it. I have some words for them.” I reached for my phone, and I didn’t know whether to call Bill or Jake first, but what I would say would not be nice. All I could think was how could you put my marriage at risk for your needs? How selfish can you be to ask someone else to do your dirty work? My husband’s friendship must mean nothing. Is he just a middle man for you and your weed-head of a wife?

Those were my true feelings and had my husband not stopped me, that phone conversation with either Bill, Jake, or Jake’s wife would not have been a positive one at all.

Needless to say, my husband went to bed early that night. He didn’t want to continue the conversation. He told me he wouldn’t do it, and he didn’t. I set the alarm on the house just to be sure that he didn’t go out to try to make his friends happy once I went to sleep. I didn’t get any of my pressing questions answered that night.

The next day, after giving him the cold shoulder most of the day, my husband was ready to talk to me about the situation. He told me he wasn’t smoking weed. Bill was leaving town that night, and Jake wanted my husband to get it so that he would have access to it while Bill was out of town. He didn’t know why he was asked or willing to be the middle man in that situation. The what-if situations never crossed his mind. He was adamant that he wasn’t going to prison, although he couldn’t tell me how he’d feel and what we would do if he were pulled over by police and arrested for possessing an illegal substance. He felt that I should let it go because he was honest with me, but I reminded him that normally I don’t ask him many questions about his whereabouts. I felt like I needed to from that point.

The trust level had changed. How can I trust that when my husband leaves home he’s not going to be gone forever? It is one thing to lose my husband to a car accident or an unforeseen circumstance, but to have my husband gone for months due to an avoidable jail sentence or a premeditated mistake is ludicrous.

I asked him not to take my choices away from me. Up until this point, I was able to make my own choices. I chose to date him, to marry him, to stay true to him, to love him, and to protect him. If he gets arrested for something stupid (because I can’t think of a better way to describe this situation), he takes away my choice to be with my husband. We won’t have an option.

I don’t expect him to ever understand how I feel – that the thought of him risking what we have scared me to death. I am always thinking of the what-ifs. I felt like this entire circumstance was the strangest coincidence ever; it was almost unbelievable.

Would I have reacted the same way if I had not been watching “Ratchet” TV that night? I’m not completely sure. I would like to think that I would be just as concerned for my husband, our lives, and his safety. Was it just an overreaction, or were my concerns valid? I will never know.

I received a promise from my husband that he would make better decisions. The next time I probably won’t be around to threaten him into doing the right thing and thinking about what could possibly go wrong.

I continue to pray for his choices:

Lord, fill my husband with the fear of the Lord and give him wisdom for every decision he makes. May he reverence You and Your ways and seek to know Your truth. Give him discernment to make decisions based on Your revelation. Help him to make godly choices and keep him from doing anything foolish. Take foolishness out of his heart and enable him to quickly recognize error and avoid it. Open his eyes to clearly see the consequences of any anticipated behavior…

-excerpt from The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian

This situation has taught me that the trust has to be in God – that God will shift my husband’s thinking in the right direction. I think it was God who made my husband come upstairs, sit on the couch next to me, and tell me where he was going with hesitation in his voice. It was God who fixed my husband’s mouth to say the very statement that he knew would make me suspicious. I’m sure I didn’t react the way God had intended; if that test was mine then I’m sure I failed. Therefore, I continue to pray for myself:

Show me if I’m wrong about this…if what I’m sensing is correct, reveal it to him in time to stop the process. Show him the truth and close the door.

God, I confess my unforgiveness toward my husband. Deliver me from all of it.

-excerpt from The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian

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