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Saturday, October 28, 2006

"Tougher Than It Is"


I've had the lyrics of Cake's Pressure Chief song "Tougher Than It is" rolling around in my head all day. The full refrain is: "some people like to make life tougher than it is." That is so true. There are some folks who enter my life, and I know, before the conversation gets going, that complication is coming. These are the ones, who just before ending a conversation say: "You know, I was thinking......." While I know that life is tough and painful for many. I know that there are complicated situations out there; life support, the environment, how to care for the poor poor. Not everything has to be complicated and negative.
But for some folks, a day is not really good unless they can complicate someone's life with doubt, skepticism, cynicism, or sarcasm.
I guess I react so strongly to these people is because I once was one (and still fight cynical snake). I had such a sharp tounge, especially in seminary, that I lost friends because of the harsh things I would say in the guise of pursuing truth. The truth was, I liked to chase people with words and logic and leave them fumbling and confused. I had to win. And for me to win, you had to lose. Then Jesus got hold of me through Christian classics, especially Thomas a'Kempis. These folks gently brought me into "the woodshed" and taught me that my purpose was to reflect Christ, not disarm all opponents.
So now, a swim in the ocean looking at the mountains, makes my day. A quiet meal with Martha and a glass of wine is a feast. A cup of coffee with one candle lit is a sanctuary. The other night I heard my favorite live group "Vajra" play at a downtown club. I was with Martha and a bunch of friends celebrating the birthday of a church member/friend. During the very loud set, the bass guitarist took off on a riff that welled my eyes with tears. His fingers flew on the neck of the guitar and he was inside the music. Another guitarist looked over at me and rolled his eyes in wonder.
I wish for you, wherever you are, that you refuse to "let some people make life tougher than it is" and instead...live.

2 Comments:

At 8:50 PM , Anonymous Gary Means said...

Donn, I hate it when people do that. I'm not talking about the cynics. I'm talking about bloggers who nail me! I just wander in innocently, looking for something interesting to read, and WHAM! There's that 2x4 coming right for my forehead.

Actually I am not the negative, cynical, destructive person that I once was. I came across a definition for cynicism which was another 2x4. "Cynicism is what passes for brilliance among the mediocre."

Years ago, one of the directors at a former employer called me into a private conference room and asked if everything was ok at home because he had received a number of complaints about my negatitivity and cynicism. Unfortunately, it was also well known that I professed to be a Christian.

God eventually took my life by the scruff of the neck and shook me with enough violence that I got the message that I might need to consider getting some help. Hitting bottom came first, then a sponsor who challenged me by saying, "Gary, every week you bring a new hard-luck story. Are you willing to give your pain to God." The story continues on for several pages from there. Suffice it to say that God wanted me to embrace reality instead of fight it at every turn, or stay in a continual state of anger about the fact that the world was not conforming to my expectations.

For me, negativity and cynicism was terribly dysfunctional coping methods which helped me deal with a world that did not revolve around me. Thank God that He is gradually replacing that approach with one which is centered on walking with Him. Too bad that it took over 45 years of my life to begin to learn those lessons. At least my wife finally has a husband who is learning how to love other people, especially her.

Now if I could just find a way to deal with the verbosity.

 
At 6:37 AM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Thanks Gary. Verbosity is a problem that is much more manageable than cynicism....use the "delete" button. I love your statement about cynicism and mediocrity....powerful!

 

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