This week has been a roller coaster for me. I had a pretty high hope, many people probably familiar with, not go the way I wanted. The possibility of a door, back into a world I believed I belonged in, never quite materialized. In the book of Proverbs, it says, “hope deferred makes the heart sick,” and this week, my heart has been sick.
As I walked out of gym this morning, wishing I was getting ready for a playoff game tomorrow, I was feeling pretty low. While minding my own business, a man drove past me in a truck and shouted some racist and insensitive things at me, followed by some profanity about how I stupid looked. I was utterly shocked and offended, ready to hurl a brick into his windshield. I found myself spiraling through this progression.
Attack: I wanted to punch this guy right in his Adams apple. Why on earth would a man with a fully formed adult brain, say something like that to a total stranger minding his own business? My heart rate jumped as I visualized how good it would feel to slap him, in an attempt to replicate the humiliation I felt, in him.
Defend: I went through the list of all the reasons I was cool. I have a hot wife who loves me, won a super bowl, made great money, voted class clown in high school. No way man…YOU’RE THE LOSER. Forgetting when you try to defend yourself with stuff like that, it just makes you look more weak.
Separate: I don’t normally get shaken when people treat me poorly. I usually feel pretty OK with who I am and assume peoples problem with me is because of them, not me. I took some deep breaths and realized, the reason I’m taking this so personal is because I was already feeling disappointed and low. He was a giant straw that broke my back.
Compassion: I started to realize, this guy must have a pretty terrible life. When someone has an insatiable urge like that, to cast stones at total strangers to feel powerful, its usually never the whole story. I wonder what his dad was like? I wonder if his wife loves him well? I wonder if he feels stressed over his work? I wonder if he is estranged from his kids? I wonder if he is turning to substance, over community to escape the pain he has? There was obviously more to the story and I felt sorry for him.
It took me a long time today to get to the compassion spot, which is normally where I start. I got kicked when I was down, by a total stranger, and that was no fun. Because of the disappointment I was carrying, I allowed someone outside of me, to determine the kind of day I was going to have, and that ain’t ok.
Tough times expose things, which God wants to grow in us. Not to shame us for where we are, but because He loves journeying with us in our quest for being whole. He’s the teacher, the counselor, and the friend who sticks closer than a brother. Guiding us in this “flash-in-the-pan” called life. For those, who are wanting to know exactly why I’m not playing tomorrow, I’d love to go into more detail, but the timing isn’t quite right. You will understand why. I am in the process of writing my first book, about what it looks like to be whole in every area of our life. It will go into the details of the football situation. I’m excited. I think it’s going to help a lot of people navigate their own storms and disappointments, as they journey towards being whole.
Being offended is a choice. Whether it be towards God or people. When I act like a toddler, throwing a tantrum when God doesn’t open the door I want, or when people try to belittle me, I can remember that the good times in life are God loving me, and the tough times in life, are God growing me. I need them both. Here’s to a new year and a new day. Together, lets love the process as we journey towards wholeness.