Accomodation, Affirmation, Camping, Close Quarters, Uncategorized

The Buck Snorts of Life

One intent of this blog is to challenge us to live life fully… grace-fully, wonder-fully, hope-fully.  Because being around the Walton brothers is such a hoot, I hope to experiment with using humor to face our challenges with this grace, wonder, and hope.  Here’s to first attempts!

My husband Mark and his younger brother Hugh have been paddling their sea canoes in the wilds of the north for over 25 years. For most of those years the brothers always shared a small tent. Mark will readily tell you that his brother snores. Not the little snips and snorts of a sleepy tongue relaxing at the back of the mouth, but the giant, gaping, mawing croaks that sound like an angry and randy buck. If you have spent much time around deer, you know about the buck snort. It’s a cross between a loud grunt, a sneeze, and a bawl.  Earplugs don’t begin to help Mark with Hugh’s buck-snorting antics. The noise keeps him awake through the watches of the night, as he lies there rigidly, imagining the tent looking like a flimsy lung inhaling through his brother’s open mouth, followed by a cracking and whiffling forced expulsion of air out his face. Snuffle in. Snort out. All the blessed night long.

Mark has tried pushing Hugh over. Turns out a true buck-snorter can snort as well on his stomach as his back. Each morning he awakes refreshed and looking forward to his coffee, while Mark groggily assess how much sleep he did, or did not actually get. Why it took over twenty years for Mark to start bringing his own tent-pitched as far from his brother’s as the campsite will allow-is something for the psychologists to study. In the end, Hugh’s snoring is likely why they’ve had so little trouble in camp with bears.

We who live intimately with other people know firsthand the little, but many annoyances that intrude on day-to-day life. The power of love in such relationships is to learn to accommodate with grace.

It is the most basic premise of hospitality to accommodate. And it is always your choice: you can either affirm or infirm those you love with your gestures and words (and the tone you use). You can be grandly grace-filled, or you can belittle. One builds, the other tears down.

Take a look at your closest relationships. Can you accommodate the little annoyances without taking offense? Without self-importance? It means to make room for somebody, to be obliging, to tolerate with sacrificial humility. I am not saying you must become a doormat- sometimes the solution is to get another tent! But for most of us, it is just like being in your sleeping bag; it may be time to roll over and cherish the one you’re with, no matter how loud the snorting.

~J.A.P. Walton

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