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Don's Journey

I wrote this entry last week before Christmas, but have just decided to publish these difficult words. We celebrated Christmas and were very thankful that Gail was here to join us! As suspected, I got over my anger and have moved forward. Life is sometimes a roller coaster, isn’t it?

Friday, December 22:

Well, we’re back in the hospital again for Gail’s treatment. In fact, it’s the second time this week. Earlier this week, I actually spent the night here with atrial-fibrillation. I have experienced this condition numerous times through the years, and have had two heart ablations to remedy the condition. Honestly, I was pretty ticked about getting this, especially at this time. It seems that our bodies have no consideration of timing when it comes to illness. This time, a quick cardioversion got my ticker back into proper timing, but left me very tired and a little sore – and a lot mad.

So, it all finally caught up with me yesterday. I had a minor meltdown. I was teary, tired and angry all day. In some attempt to process, I tried to analyze my anger. Here’s some of what I wrote to my sister-in-law when she asked about my condition after the hospital stay:

I think I am angry on several levels. I am angry with God, but I am also angry with myself because, in my anger with Him, the message of the cross still burns within me. But, I don’t want it to be there right now. I just want to be angry with Him.

I am angry, kind of like Jonah, because I know that I am a Ninevehite and should not be saved, but His grace and mercy are so overwhelming that He will save me anyway, in spite of myself. I don’t feel like being saved right now. It makes me mad that He is so kind.

I am angry because I can’t control Him in any way. He is totally oblivious to my attempts at manipulation of any situation. His will always prevails and He is always right. It makes me mad.

I am angry because He does not overwhelm me and make me into what I know I ultimately want to be, but instead forces me to put up with myself and grow just one arduous step after another. The process seems so infinitely slow.

I am angry because I just don’t know much of anything about Him, yet He burns inside of me with unquenchable light and life. I just can’t figure Him out and it is upsetting. Yet, I actually know Him well. This is such a tiring paradox sometimes. If I didn’t know Him at all, I wouldn’t be angry about our relationship.

I am angry because I must speak of His character before others, things that I know are true, but I don’t want to speak a good word for Him because He makes me so mad.

I am angry because I am 63 and know so little and still have so much sinfulness left in me. It is pitiful, but I refuse to let go of some of it. Will I ever attain a measure of righteousness?

So, there you have it! Like Paul spoke of himself, “What a wretched man am I! Who will rescue me from this pitiful condition?” But Christmas will happen, no matter how I feel, and the remainder of Paul’s conclusion will once again prove true in my life. “Thanks be to God that there is now no condemnation for all of those in Christ Jesus.”

Sometimes it feels like the whole world is just one big mess of condemnation, but the opposite is actually true. Some days I just don’t want to hear it. But just because I don’t want to hear it, doesn’t mean it’s not reality. I’m still tired and a little upset, but I’ve been around long enough to know that I’ll get over it, so I’ll just go on anyway.

Sorry if this knowledge is upsetting, coming from an experienced pastor and follower of Christ. I never asked for this job, I was called to it and I knew I would be miserable if I did not follow my calling. But being a pastor does not insulate one from the harsh realities of life and death. In fact, these conditions are even more acute for those in my line of work because we not only help others deal with these realities daily, but must also do it while dealing with our own frailties.

Thanks for listening to my rant.