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That’s what I’ve been giving you for the last few months. And it’s been on purpose.

I didn’t do it to hurt you. Actually, I did it to keep from hurting you.

You see, I have been hurting for the past few months, and I recognize that hurting people hurt other people. So, I went silent in an attempt to not hurt anyone – intentionally or otherwise.

I’m glad to say that I am on the upside of the healing process, and feel as though I can communicate again without pain and anger coming out.

It feels good to be back. Thanks for being patient with me.

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I posted a month ago about my friend who was arrested for possession of cocaine. I’ve been meaning to post an update, but there really hasn’t been much to update. Until now.

Two weeks after his arrest, I stopped by to see him. I asked him what was going on, and he denied everything. In the nicest way I could, I told him I would love to believe him but that I didn’t. I told him I loved him and nothing he has done or could do would change that. Then, last week, I stopped by again. He didn’t answer the door. As I drove off, I saw him standing in the doorway. That should catch you up, now enter Sunday morning.

3AM to be exact. I received a text message that read: I am out of control and I need you right now!!!  What do you do with that? I don’t know what you do, but I got dressed and got in the truck. If 3AM is when he wants to come clean and get help, then 3AM it is.

So my friend came clean. It appears it took getting punched in the mouth by another friend to finally come to terms with his problem, but whatever it takes. He wants help, and I want to help him.

Honestly, I don’t need this. I’ve got plenty of other things going on in my life, and I don’t need the added drama. I hate drama. But, it’s not about me right now, it’s about my friend in need. I don’t necessarily need him right now, but he needs me.

It makes me think of my relationship with God. He doesn’t need me, with my sin and my messes. God is perfectly fine without me. But I need Him. Desperately. I need His truth, His love, His grace and mercy. I have nothing to offer Him that He doesn’t already have. But God is there for me. Every time I need Him, He’s there.

My friend is no different. What he needs isn’t me, it’s God. But he’s reaching out to me, so I need to be Jesus to him and show him love, and compassion and forgiveness. It may be through our relationship that he begins a relationship with God. The way I see it, I have no choice but to reach out to my friend and love him. Nothing he has done or will do can make me love him any more or any less. I have to remember that, because that is how Jesus loves me. Unconditionally.

The way I see it, we are at step one right now. This is where we begin. Thank you for your prayers.

Actually the Animal Kingdom, to be exact.

Ginny and I took the kids there a few weeks ago. We had passes that were about to expire, so I took off one Friday to go. Great plan! We got there early, rode some rides quickly, and made our way around the park.

As the day started getting longer, we all started getting worn out. We decided to walk through one of the “jungle trek” deals that they have. You know the one where you walk along a path, and every now ant then there is an animal behind plexiglass? Well, we were waiting to see the tigers, and Josh didn’t want to wait. He kept pulling on my arm and pulling on my arm and pulling on my arm and pulling on my, well, you get the idea. Finally, I popped him on the butt and set him down for a little break. He was not happy about this.

Apparently, neither was Edna <name changed to protect the guilty, and because I can’t remember her real name>, our friendly elderly tour guide. She took it upon herself to “fix” this situation. So she decides to talk to Josh, my 4 year old, and ask him what Daddy’s problem is. Bad choice of words, Edna. You just became Daddy’s problem. And, by the way, I am the adult. You should have tried talking to me.

I stepped up to check Edna’s credentials. I mean, maybe she was Dr. Phil’s grandma, which would still not qualify her to tell me how to be a parent. As I approached her, I got that look from my wife. You know the one. That look that says, “Be Nice!” I hate that look. There’s some kind of witchcraft behind that look.

So now I have to be nice. Great. There goes Plan A-J. So instead of addressing her with, “Look, Lady” I decided to address Josh instead. I told him he needed to be patient and obey Mommy and Daddy when we speak to them. Then Edna explains that we don’t want anyone upset, because this is supposed to be the happiest place on Earth. I nearly lost it.

The happiest place on Earth? Seriously? Do you think I give two flips about the happiness quotient of Disney? What I care about is raising my kids to be productive, responsible, honest adults. And if that means bringing Disney down a point or two, I’m sorry. I don’t care if we’re in line at the Department of Children and Families. If my kids are misbehaving, I will deal with it. Not because I get off on disciplining my kids or making them cry, but because I love them. And they need boundaries.

Anyway, I let that one go. And now we were ready to go. It was then that Edna asked, “So is everything OK now?” What!? OK? Everything was OK before you showed up. Just because my son was unhappy for 3 minutes didn’t throw the world into a lurch. If anything, I’m worse off from having met Edna and “been nice” to her. So I said “yes” and we moved on.

The next 10 minutes were not happy for me. I made the comment about Edna not raising kids in 75 years or so. That earned me another one of those looks from Ginny.

I’m pretty sure my picture is pasted somewhere at Disney, labeled as a “discipliner.” Good. And Edna probably got a pewter pair of mouse ears for “fixing” a problem and returning the Happiness Quotient to 4,372.81. Know what I got for “being nice”? An ulcer. But at least I didn’t have to go to Mouse Jail.

Long weekends rock! At least until Tuesday comes. For some reason I just couldn’t get out of bed. Anyways, here goes:

Friday: Went fishing with Timm & T.C. Fishing wasn’t that great, but it was better than anything else I could’ve been doing at the time. After that I went home and was Yard-Boy for the remainder of the day. AND I messed up the headphones on my I-pod and had to mow without music.

Saturday:The Zellwood Sweet Corn Festival. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype. The corn was good, though. By my calculations, I needed to eat 100 ears to cover the price of admission. I didn’t come close.

Sunday: We started a new series at RPCcalled Burned, it’s about anger. Usually, I sit and nod at the sermon and apply small nuggets to my life.(I’m super-spiritual that way) But this series hits me where I live. I get angry. Seriously. The next three weeks should be fun.<sarcasm> Speaking of next, we held our first-ever Next after the second service. It was a lot of fun, and it allowed some RPC-ersto ask questions of some of the leadership team. I had a blast! Then we had a cookout with our family group that evening. Aside from the mosquitoes, it was a good day. Did I mention we played Heart’s Barracuda to close the service?

Monday: Nothing!!! Amen! Took the kids to the park. That’s it. There’s a lot to be said for taking a lazy day.

How’d your weekend go? Did I miss anything?