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A Husband’s Desperate Prayer (on His Wife’s Birthday)

We all know that prayer is a journey and reading the Bible is a spiritual journey, but shopping for your wife is a trip on a sinking ship through shark-infested waters.

Prayer blogger Rick Hamlin

Today’s my wife’s birthday. Before I wish her Happy Birthday, can we talk about the husband’s challenge in finding and buying that perfect gift?

I start worrying about this one as soon as Labor Day hits. Carol, bless her, usually gives this clueless man a few good ideas. There’ll be a dog-eared page on a catalogue, a link to a website with something in just the right size, an unsubtle mention of a favorite perfume. Then there is the trip to buy it.

We all know that prayer is a journey and reading the Bible is a spiritual journey, but shopping for your wife is a trip on a sinking ship through shark-infested waters.

The other day I walked into the right boutique that I found on the Internet. Do you know how intimidating such places are? First I’m afraid the chic saleswoman will never speak to me. Then I’m afraid she will. Finally I sputter, “I’m a clueless husband here to buy his wife a present that I’ll mispronounce and is probably out of stock…”

“Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to thee for strength” is a line from my favorite prayer. Well, my strength was ebbing the minute I pushed the buzzer and tripped over the welcome mat, almost knocking over a glass-topped table of priceless merchandise. The saleswoman gave me a stiff smile and gestured in the direction of an antique bureau. The air was assaulting me with so many different smells I was afraid I’d go into a sneezing fit.

“This one?” I asked, holding up a tiny bottle.

“Yes,” she nodded, as though the class dummy had finally spelled a word correctly.

I brought my offering to her like one of the wise men and she wrapped it in a black box with black tissue paper and put it in a black bag. I wasn’t brave enough to ask for color. “Thank you,” I said, backing out of the place very carefully.

I will give it to Carol tonight, full of renewed respect for her sense of style. The world of fashion is a mystery to me, greater than the mysteries of the divine. Once a year I make this foray into the unknown, a pilgrim in a strange land.

“Happy Birthday, sweetie,” I’ll say. “I hope it’s the right thing.” She’s kind. She never tells me that it’s not.

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