When I was little, our family hit hard times and we didn’t even have money for groceries. I was just five years old, so I wasn’t sure what was going on — all I knew was that the cabinets were empty.
When I was in first grade, my brother Caleb and I lived in another state for a month — I don’t want to explain why. All I will say is that it was unexpected, confusing, and the result of serious complications in my parents’ relationship.
It was Friday night in Petal, Mississippi. I was 17 years old and I decided to do something risky, something bold, something I had never done before: I drove up to a gas station. It may not seem an impressive feat to you, but this wasn’t just any gas station. This was the gas station, the Texaco — the central meeting point for the popular people from Petal High.
One time, I told my friend Steve that I was going to ask God to humble me. Steve said, “I wouldn’t do that. Scripture says to humble yourself. You don’t want God to have to do it.” Along that vein, a few years ago, I embarked on a self-imposed, humbling journey in self-discovery in which I did interviews with five different people, asking questions that elicited mostly-negative responses about ways I could improve my impact on others.
A few years ago, I was in a dysfunctional situation with a couple of other people — one was my boss, the other was my coworker. And like most dysfunctional relationships, it didn’t happen overnight. Things just built up over time.
A few years ago my buddy Shon and I were working out at the gym when I saw something that baffled me: a middle-aged guy in the gym walking around in his T-shirt, sneakers and his underwear. Yes, his underwear, and no, we were not in the locker room.
I don’t flip people off in traffic, but this week, there was an ugly part of me that felt like doing it. I was in rush hour traffic and was trying to get across downtown D.C. to get a haircut. It is difficult to find street parking at that hour, but lo and behold, right when I arrived, a woman got in her car to leave — and then she took her time.
The other day, I was just minding my own business, trying to get to work, when a woman in a black Lexus brought out the worst in me. I was trying to park in a garage in downtown Washington, D.C., which is a challenge. I have little time to get to the garage after dropping off my daughter at school, and if I’m a minute late, the price goes up from $14 to $21. Time is of the essence.
Up in Washington, D.C., there are plenty of ignorant folks who assume evangelical southerners like me are judgmental, closed-minded, and prejudiced in all kinds of ways. It’s sad and frustrating, but it’s reality, and I’m sure my friend Macie Anderson has been on the receiving end of it as well.
This is a story about a law student, a partner at a firm, and gross towel usage. Brace yourself. Here we go.
Some of the people I most admire love themselves really well. They’re not hard on themselves. They give themselves room to grow and figure things out. They like themselves. I find it easy to be around those folks. There’s something special going on with them.
Oftentimes when I’m with my little girls, I feel like I’m just talking at them and around them, but not to them. Whether I want to or not, I’m juggling four or five things in my own head while trying to stay engaged with them. Yes, I would like to play Hungry Hippo with them; but at the same time, I would love to have 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading time or a nap. So a lot of times, I don’t get to read; I don’t get the nap; and my kids get me halfway-engaged in a game of Hungry…
Sometimes my wife and I fall into the trap of putting each other on guilt trips. Maybe she wants me to help out around the house, so she reminds me of how much time she has spent taking care of the kids. Or maybe I want a break to do something I enjoy (like writing), so I remind her how much I’ve been doing at the office. We’re trying to get away from that.
Last week, Washington, DC, was abuzz with excitement over the blizzard that was forecasted to dump two feet of snow on the city. The snow was just beginning to fall when I looked out the window and saw something across the street that surprised me: a homeless man was sitting against a brick wall, drinking something. “Hey girls,” I said, “look out the window.”
I am conversationally fluent in Spanish, but under the right circumstances, speaking Spanish can be scary for me.