A Haven of Bitterness

In November 1930 the Chicago Examiner reported the story of Harry Havens, who went to bed and stayed there for seven years, with a blindfold over his eyes.

Why did he do it?

Because he was angry at his wife.

Havens (as he told it) had always tried to be a good husband. He worked around the house, took care of the yard, carried out the trash, and even helped with the dishes.

One day his wife complained that he wasn’t doing it right. At that precise moment, Harry decided that enough was enough.

“All right, if that’s how you feel, I’m going to bed,” he said.  “I’ll stay there for the rest of my life and I don’t want to see you ever again.”

Harry put on his pjs, got under the covers, put a blindfold over his eyes, and settled in.

He finally got back up when the bed started to feel uncomfortable…seven years later.

The article’s headline states, Man Spites His Wife By Staying Blindfolded in Bed Seven Years.

Maybe his self-imposed exile did get on her nerves somewhat, but who did Harry really spite? Who was the biggest loser in this extended temper tantrum?

It was Harry himself, of course. He lost seven years of his life. He lived seven years in darkness.

That means no reading. No walks in the sunshine. No laughter with friends. Just seven long, miserable years trying to settle a score that was probably never settled.

The writer of Hebrews said…

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Hebrews 12:15)

Bitterness can damage a relationship, true. Most of all, it damages you. It destroys your happiness and peace of mind, and it causes you to miss out on the grace that God offers to each of us.

It reminds me of what Nelson Mandela once said:

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

It took Harry Havens seven years to decide that his haven of bitterness felt uncomfortable.

How long will you wait to let your bitterness go?