Bounding down the stairs from my home office, I felt productive. It was only Tuesday and I had already finished most of Sunday's sermon, solved three minor Sunday school crises, written the week's newspaper column, and prayed with two hospitalized church members. Some days you just feel like a successful minister, I thought.

On my way to the coffee maker in the kitchen, I could see my wife, Joy, on her knees in the living room surrounded by piles of clean-yet-unfolded laundry.

"I can't do this anymore," Joy blurted out.

I laughed. "Who can?" I joked, folding a towel.

She broke into tears.

I stopped laughing.

"It's just too much."

I matched a pair of socks. "Honey, I know. And I'll help, okay?" Must be that time of the month, I thought.

"I don't mean this," she sobbed, gesturing to the ever-present laundry.

"I mean (gasp) our life. I can't (three convulsive, inhaling gasps) live—this—way—any longer."

Even before it came out of my mouth, I knew it was a dumb thing to say. But that's never stopped ...

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