Last weekend, I got out our trusty, old fake Christmas tree and put it together. But when I plugged it in, I discovered that half of the lights in the middle section were dead.
I know this was stupid, but last weekend, I did two hours of yard work, despite the fact that I had a severe sinus infection. It all happened because my wife was outside planting bulbs, and I just couldn’t handle the fact that she was laboring in the yard while I sat inside and rested (which was exactly what I needed to be doing).
“Margaritas, everyone!” said the worship leader from my new church as she filled plastic cups for the partygoers in her home. I was mortified, and I figured God was too. Then I walked outside where I found our Austrian pastor making conversation and smoking a cigarette. All I could do was put on my best fake smile, bid farewell, and ease away from the party in confusion.
Back in college, I was a high maintenance friend. As I’ve described in my article, “Facing Insecurity, Finding Friendship,” “I always needed a prompt reply to my phone call or email, an enthusiastic ‘yes’ to my invitations. I needed to be coddled and comforted and assured that I was liked. If someone neglected to call back, it couldn’t be because they forgot — no way, it had to be because they were ignoring me and my all-important need for affirmation.”
When I was growing up in Petal, Mississippi, I felt a steady sense of being out-of-place. I didn’t play sports; my dad didn’t take me hunting; I paid the reduced price for my school lunch; and we weren’t Southern Baptists like almost everyone else in town. These were a few of the clues that helped me see that I didn’t belong.
One afternoon when I was 6 years old, I was physically assaulted by a female adult whom I did not know. It happened about 25 yards from the apartment where I lived.
When I was in my late 20s and single, I was afraid I was idolizing marriage, and I had reason to be. I knew marriage was a healthy, God-given desire. But I oftentimes found myself obsessing over it, anguishing over the wait before I met “the one,” and inordinately discouraged when another hopeful romance turned out to be nothing.
The other day, I arrived at the bus stop where four Asian ladies were indiscriminately passing out New Testament Bibles. When one of the ladies offered me a Bible, I tried to decline. But she was insistent, so I tried to change the subject.
I have friends who adopted a little girl from another country, and their child has some significant disabilities that require her to wear a brace on her leg. You would think that fitting braces for a child’s leg would not be a difficult thing, but it has actually been a long process that has been debilitating and painful.
One morning when I was in eleventh grade, I was walking through the school parking lot with Jamie Walker when all of sudden, I saw a big, black Buick Regal come around the corner. It was headed straight for me.
The other night, I thought I heard something break upstairs in the girls’ bathroom, but I decided to keep a low profile until there were further developments. I figured that one of the girls would let me know if I was needed for a cleanup. Then I heard something at the top of the stairs. It sounded two little steps.
Last night, I traveled to the UPS Customer Service Center, where I had the opportunity to witness how quickly frustrated adults can start acting like children.
Last night, my wife and I came home and discovered that the pipes in our kitchen were frozen. For those of you who have experience with this sort of thing, you realize this is not a small problem.
The other day, I was reading the Bible to my little daughters and we came across a passage that made me a little uncomfortable. In it, Jesus said, “Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow” (Matthew 5:42). It felt awkward when I tried to explain the verse to the girls.
I feel kind of lame when I say this, but I do not enjoy the spiritual discipline of fasting, because it usually just leaves me feeling annoyed and inconvenienced. Even so, I’m finally coming to a place where I appreciate it a lot more than I used to.