Do You Really Think They Care?

The definition for the word cynicism is as follows; an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; skepticism. Viewing the world we live in, and the way things are going in the United States right now, I guess you’d have to call me a cynic. In 57 years, I’ve seen my share of elections and have been on both sides of the winning column. So please understand me when you read what I’ve written here, I’m not at all bothered by the fact that my guy didn’t win the election. I’ve had this happen enough times to understand there has to be a winner and a loser. Whether I like the guy who wins or not, I can deal with it. As we prepare to move into what I feel personally is the darkest time in our history, I can do so with the knowledge that I am an adult and will continue to act like one.

When I say I feel we are moving into the darkest time in our country’s history, I truly believe this, and here is why. There have been too many “coincidences” surrounding this election to believe there was anything other than an all out assault on the conservative ideals and people running for office who believe in those. I don’t say this because my guy lost, not at all. I applaud the other side for the masterful job in manipulating the Covid-19 situation into something to be played against President Trump with the help of the news media. And using fear as their weapon convincing the population it was in their best interest to stay home and instead vote by mail.

The biggest reason I feel like a cynic is the pure unadulterated hatred for Donald Trump. Honestly I just don’t get it. I mean, I didn’t like Bill Clinton or Obama, but I didn’t hate them like people hate Trump. I didn’t believe either of these guys had the best interest of the people of the United States in mind when they led, and I still don’t. But I got the impression Donald Trump does care about what was best for all Americans. Now before you go on a tirade about the personal life, beliefs and actions of Donald Trump, I’ll save you some time. I think more than half of what the man said was stupid at times, and didn’t agree with his personal assessments. But just because I don’t like what someone says, doesn’t mean he can’t do a good job and make some headway.

Watching everyone clammer around and talk about how great this upcoming administration is and how they are going to be the saviors of the United States makes me chuckle. Every time I heard Joe Biden talk about how he was going to bring in great paying jobs and change the course of the economy, I wished someone would have asked him where the money was going to come from? You see, when you have everything handed to you, and taken care of for you, you lose the ability to understand what’s really going on with the common man. Make no mistake, these people who tell you they have your best interest at heart, look into their past and see what they’ve done back there.

Therein lies another thing about this upcoming administration, if Joe Biden hasn’t done anything in his 47 years of public service, why do we think that now all of a sudden he will? See it just doesn’t add up for me, so therefore I feel like a cynic. Will I protest the new administration? No. Will I state what I believe? Absolutely! One thing I love about the United States of America is free speech; you know that little thing called the first amendment to the constitution? It simply says this:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The greatest thing about the first amendment is it means I can say what I believe and you can say what you believe. Without fear of being persecuted for it. What I think the real issue is around free speech is that people are unwilling to sit down and listen to each other. You are entitled to your beliefs, and I need to be polite enough to let you share them without acting a fool, and I should be treated in the same manner. The problem comes when you close your mind to a person just because they believe different than you.

It’s still the beginning of 2021, what’s say we all try to get along, and maybe even do something for your fellow man without hope of any type of return. Honestly, we don’t need the people in Washington to live our lives and be good citizens, we just need to do what is good and honest and true. Really if we all ignored the politicians and news media and just got to know the people in our communities, all of our lives would be so much better. I think it’s the people in Washington who need us, not the other way around. And this goes for the media too. Without us giving ear to all their commentaries and horse pucky, they really wouldn’t have anything to do.

Just my take, thanks for taking the time to read an old stuck in the mud guy’s thoughts. For the Kingdom and the King…Shalom!

Let’s Do Better

For the last fifty-seven years my birthday has been on New Year’s Eve, I suppose it will be for the next fifty-seven to now that I think about it. In all of those years, I’ve always been prompted with the idea of making the new year better than the last one. I think we’ve all done it, written down our hopes, dreams and aspirations only to fall back into the routines of life in just a few short weeks. Or at least I hope I’m not the only one this happens to.

Many people have complained, whined and cried about the year 2020, I truthfully have seen some pretty amazing things; haven’t missed a day of work, continued to see the blessings of God in my life and was introduced to the most beautiful baby girl which has earned me the title of Pop Pop. There have been some sad things as well; my dad passing away (not due to Covid), friend’s family members having died (due to Covid) and our family vacation being extremely too short. But with all of this, I guess 2020 wanted to get in one last kick.

So yesterday was the most miserable day I think I have ever had at work. Usually, I’m pretty upbeat and optimistic with whatever is going on, but yesterday I guess I was off of my game, and unwilling to listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, which is funny, because the day before I did, and did well. Anyhow, yesterday just sucked. For those of you who know me, for me to even use the word “sucked”, it should be obvious how bad a day it was. For starters, I had to fix a situation at the very beginning of my shift (6 am) in order to keep the mill from losing production. And I had to do this, while trying to do the things I already have to do at the start of my shift, so I was behind.

Also with it being the end of the month and year the sales department decided to bombard us with an abundance of shipments going out. Funny how at the end of the month trucks magically appear to take these loads, but are hard pressed to be found during the actual month. And yes, before you say aren’t you being a little whiney? If this was a situation which only happens once in a while, I’d just accept it like a champ and move on, but when it occurs each and every month, there becomes a pattern which makes my life and the lives of the rest of the guys I work with more difficult.

As I ran to meet each and every need requiring my assistance I found myself around 5:00 pm thinking, “Hey, we might get home by 6:00 pm.” That’s about the time we were told we needed to get another load ready for the truck which had been overlooked. The truck arrived two hours earlier than that, and it would have been cool to get the load ready while it was daylight and not raining, but instead we had to tally the load in the dark, holding flashlights, clipboards, and umbrellas trying not to get the paperwork wet, not to mention ourselves. Now I don’t hold this against anyone, I really don’t. Accidents happen, and I’m a big enough man to forgive, especially when I make enough mistakes in my own life daily. I’ve only written about it so you can get a glimpse of yesterday from my perspective.

By the time we were loading the last three trucks for the day, the rain was coming in sheets, with a stiff north wind making the temperature about twenty-eight degrees. It was brutal. As part of my job, I have a vehicle to drive from place to place, but as luck would have it, it was broke down. I was driving another buggy, but one with only a windshield (thank God for that) but no doors, so I was parking it facing the wind to as minimize the amount of cold and wet I would get. Out of the blue, one of my coworkers starts yelling, I didn’t know he was aiming this barrage of words in my direction until he stormed closer to where I was sitting. It was at this point I realized he was mad at me for not loading the truck, or even offering to help. Should I have, probably, but with the day I was having I was just trying to make it until I could go home.

Now in hindsight, I did not handle the situation in the correct way. He shot off a bunch of cuss words at me, and I fired right back. To say I was mad is an understatement. Was this guy justified? In his mind he was. Was I justified in what I said back to him? In my mind, yes. Now a day later, reviewing this in my mind and applying God’s Word to it, obviously the Holy Spirit has been reminding me of the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:38-39 Amplified:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense].’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise].”

Yeah, great words to live by, wish I would have done that yesterday. But this is what I am writing about with my blog today, “Let’s do better!” I’m going to work at driving the words of Jesus further and deeper into my heart, by not only giving them mind space, but actually living them out in the real world. It obviously doesn’t happen just because I read it, I must put it into practice. Like Jesus said in James 1:22:

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”

I will be making my part in the way 2020 ended right with my coworker, because regardless of how right I may have felt I was justified in my behavior, I was wrong and need to make it right. How about joining me this year? Let’s do better, and see God work in our lives in a larger way in 2021. For the Kingdom and the King, Shalom and welcome to the new world!


Holy Two Face Batman!

I’m sure if someone didn’t know me personally, but made decisions about what manner of man I am from my social media postings and blogs, then who I am and who you think I am would be painted with two different brushes. While the truth is, who you see before you in this blog and on all of my social media posts is one and the same guy, obviously if you were to sit down with me over a cup of coffee and we discussed the very same things I write and post about, you would probably think I was not the same man who wrote them. Mainly because of the difference between reading what someone says, and actually listening and having a conversation with that person.

As a matter of fact, this very subject came up over a lunch conversation with my bride and a friend today. People are constantly getting upset with things people post online, and usually what the upset person gets aggravated with isn’t even what the author intended. Without being able to hear the inflection in a person’s voice, or see the intent within their eyes, it is hard to actually understand what they are saying.

It’s like why punctuation is so important when you’re writing something for people to read. For example if I write, “Let’s eat grandma.” versus, “Let’s eat, grandma.” even though I use the very same words, without putting that little comma behind the word eat, it turns my words into a heinous act. Hearing how someone says something is like putting the comma in your sentence; it helps to get your point across.

One thing I’ve seen so much of over the past few months is how many people are giving us all a piece of their minds. And while I am all for talking about what you believe, I have to ask myself is this really worth the effort I am going to put in before I post it? Does this mean I get it right every time? No, absolutely not, but this shouldn’t keep me from sharing my thoughts and ideas. Instead, if I end up posting something I should have taken a little more time seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit about instead of plowing ahead, I need to own it and make it right to anyone I’ve offended.

Now this brings up a whole other thing, in today’s society, we have people who get offended at every little thing out there. And as a fifty-six year old man who gets up each and every day and spends my entire day outside doing things I don’t really want to do in order to feed and provide for my family, I don’t have a lot of patience for anyone who gets their feelings hurt and needs a special room for coloring and petting puppies to help them feel better about themselves. (Too much, too harsh?)

Jesus told us in Matthew 5:37, “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.” So understand when I write, post or say something, it will always be the same. Now you may not like what I have to say, and you know that’s okay. Nobody ever said life was about getting everyone to agree with you. But one thing you will find out about me is these things I believe, I believe because of what I’ve found in the Scriptures. I have a basis for what I talk about, and I would hope you do as well. Again, this is not to say I’ve never made mistakes before, but I do always own them, as I would hope you do as well.

To wrap this blog up, I hope you understand everything I say will come from the place of letting my yes be yes and my no be no. No wishy-washiness here, no just repeating what other people say without owning it. I’m going to own each and every word or picture I share, you can believe this, and if it turns out I offend you, then don’t hesitate to tell me. Because I can’t make it right if I don’t know I offended you.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

For I Am Costanza…Lord of the Idiots

My best friend Terry and I shared a love for the television show Seinfeld. We spent many years quoting lines from this hilarious sitcom and even would call or text each other on every occasion we were able to live out a moment from the show. (Finding a Kenny Roger’s Roasters in Manila was a highlight for both of us.)

One of the more memorable and funny episodes is called The Apartment, and in it George Constanza is wearing a wedding ring in a social experiment to try and get dates with more women. Towards the end after having his plan backfire, he makes the statement, “For I am Constanza, lord of the idiots.” It makes me laugh even as I’m writing it now. I have picked up this line and use it whenever I’ve had an idiotic moment in my own life; something which happens more often than I actually care to admit.

In my fifty-three years of life on this planet, I have had plenty of opportunities to play the idiot, as I’m sure we all have. There are times however when I feel I’m actually setting the bar for idiots everywhere to be judged by. But during the times of my lunacy I don’t think this way, it’s usually after the fact. And once this realization hits me, I really feel dumb. Those are the times where I want to crawl under a rock and hide, it can be so embarrassing.

This past week at work I had a couple of extremely difficult days and a Constanza moment raised its ugly head. It was so bad one day I actually thought about fleeing; just going to my truck and leaving without saying a word to anyone. In my entire adult life I’ve never wanted to run away from anything and this shocked me. Thank God it did, because it was this shock which woke me up from my lunacy and got me to asking what was really going on my life.

These Constanza moments come to me whenever I perceive things are not going my way. It’s like my default button is to act like a fool whenever things are not going the way I want them to. Yes I realize this sounds horrible, but truth is truth, and as they say, the first step in fixing a problem is realizing you actually have one. The man who is not self-aware is the man who really has a problem. I realized the issues I’ve been having and have begun to rectify them, making the necessary changes towards becoming a better man, which will be another blog altogether.

What I want you to realize today is you’re not alone, there are millions of us out there. And just like in the Seinfeld episode as George is confessing his idiocy to Jerry, a lady in the background starts yelling out the window to the runners, “You’re all winners!” to which George says, “But suddenly a new contender has emerged.”

 

 

 

 

Dave’s Gay Adventures (Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That)

Standing in line to get coffee and a snack at the Barnes & Noble bookstore with my friend Terry one day, the server asked, “Do you boys want two forks with that?”  Terry had ordered a carrot cake with his coffee, but the funny thing was we weren’t even standing next to each other in line; I was behind him waiting my turn.

I’m not always the brightest guy and in fact it took me a couple of moments to realize the implication of what she was asking us.  Just like George Costanza in the Seinfeld episode “The Outing”, I was ready to prove my heterosexualness to her right then and there.  I blamed Terry at the time because he was wearing a purple shirt and I was convinced this is what made her think we were a gay couple.

A few years later, I was in Las Vegas for a shoe convention where I had the opportunity to go to dinner with my friend and Oakley sales rep, Eric.  Entering one of the fancy restaurants in the hotel, these two Oklahoma rednecks sat down to enjoy an evening meal together. 

The waiter recited for us the appetizers; ending with lobster bisque.  We looked at each other and I said the bisque sounded pretty good.  Now in all honesty my only experience with lobster bisque came from another episode of Seinfeld.  Eric agreed and told the waiter we would split one.

Apparently neither one of us knew bisque was a type of soup and the server didn’t feel obliged to explain this to us; probably because we were in Vegas and whatever happens in Vegas supposedly stays there.  When he returned with the bisque and we realized what we had ordered, Eric embarrassedly asked, “Do you have a ladle?” The bisque was very tasty and I’m sure we looked a little silly dipping it from the bowl into our saucers, but we both learned a valuable lesson.

Telling my wife the story later it dawned on me I was the common denominator in both of these experiences.  In today’s society being homosexual or lesbian is more socially acceptable than at any other time in history, but I have to admit I may be a lot of things, but gay is not one of them.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)  In fact I’ve often said the only way I could be gay is if I was a woman; because then I could like women.

You might be asking where is he going with all of this; what’s his take on sexual orientation?  Truthfully, I thought it was a funny story and just wanted to share…I’ll leave to you what you want to believe, after all, this is probably what you’re going to do anyway, right?  My primary goal today was to see if I could get anyone’s attention with my writing.

Now you know what I think, what do you think?

Just the Facts, Mam

Before my wife and I were married, I lived with my parents in order to save a little money in preparation for my new life as a married man. I’m not a world traveler, the most interesting man in the world, or even a very knowledgeable man at times, so let me teach you a lesson I learned the hard way.

Getting ready for church one morning, I spied a bottle labeled “musk” on the bathroom counter. I very rarely wear cologne and thought it would be a treat for my soon to be bride, Cheryl if I put on some smell good. It’s at this point in my story I should make you aware of my lack of any real knowledge of perfumery; which is the science of making perfumes and colognes. I finished dressing, sprayed a healthy dose of musk all around my body and headed off to meet my fiancé for the worship service.

As I entered the building, I looked for Cheryl.  Spotting her, I excitedly walked to where she was standing talking with some friends.  As the service started and we began singing, she leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Did you hug your mother before you came to church?”  To which I answered, “No.”  She replied, “Huh, you smell just like your mom.”

As the next song began, I started to wonder if musk was a type of women’s perfume also.  I had worn musk before and assumed it was cologne; it never occurred to me to think it could be perfume.

As the morning continued, Cheryl kept mentioning how  much I smelled like my mom. Even though it embarrassed me I finally fessed up and told her what I had done. This little event in my life caused me to pretty much stay away from anything except soap and water for many years.  I use a little bit of beard balm from time to time and I feel pretty safe about how I smell now.

It’s really good to know your facts before doing things; which is a lesson I learned the hard way.  I think Detective Joe Friday from the television show “Dragnet” said it best when he said, “Just the facts, mam.”

 

 

 

 

 

Embarrassment; the Bane of Every Man’s Existence

The day way extremely hot and muggy, and I couldn’t have been any wetter if I’d jumped into a swimming pool fully clothed.  It was getting close to noon when word came down we were going to work through lunch.  I’m usually a pretty easy-going guy, but on this particular day it challenged me greatly to have to do this, and I didn’t handle things the way I should have.

Have you ever watched a fire grow in intensity, getting larger and hotter by the minute?  This is what I began to experience in my mind. Letting my irritation get the best of me, I let the expletives fly in front of some of the men I work with.

The day didn’t get any better, I missed out on lunch completely, stayed both hot and wet, finally ending up home and in bed by 8:30pm.  I just wanted the day to be over. Texting my bride goodnight, she came into the room to see what was wrong with me and I told her I didn’t want to talk about it.

You see, I was totally embarrassed by my outburst in front of those men, and the last thing I wanted to do was explain myself to her.  And not because I didn’t want to share my life with her; it was because I felt like a fool.

One thing I’ve learned in life is men do not like to be embarrassed or look foolish.  A guy will take a kick to the crotch over being the laughing-stock every time. It’s all about honor; without it, we’re nothing.

Men can take just about anything from another man, but to lose face in front of his wife is unbearable, at least it is for me.  There is nothing else which will make me feel more like a failure. This is why I didn’t want to talk to my bride about what had happened at work, because I already felt like a fool, failure and complete waste of space.  And having to explain what I’d done wasn’t going to help.  For me, bringing the day to a close was the thing I needed.

You might be saying, “But Dave, it’s not a big deal to lose your temper and cuss in front of the guys, everybody does that from time to time.” And while I would agree it isn’t a big deal for a lot of men, it is for me. The reason is because I’ve made a decision to live my life as a follower of Christ, and this is not the way Jesus would want me to act. I’m not a super Christian or anything; I’m flawed and realize it daily, but I do try to live my life pleasing to God. This day I didn’t do that, and it really bothered me.

I think I know how Peter felt after he denied knowing Jesus the night they arrested him. Scripture says Peter was pointed out by several people as being one of Jesus’s followers (twice by girls) and this big fisherman cussed a blue streak, saying he didn’t know the man.

Earlier that night, Jesus had told Peter he would deny knowing him three times before the rooster crowed, but Peter had declared, “Never! I will go with you all the way, even to the death!” As he heard the rooster crow and realized Jesus had been correct, Scripture says he ran into the night and wept bitterly.

Like Peter, I too felt remorse for what I had done.  The feeling of failure hung over me like a dark cloud for the entire day.  But I’m happy to announce the next day was much better.  I apologized to the men I flipped out in front of, and moved on with my life, working more diligently for this to never happen again. Will it?  Who knows?  Probably.  I am a man after all, and men make mistakes.

I do know this however, the next time someone flips out in front of me for whatever reason, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt before making any hasty judgements about them that’s for sure.

Well, now you know what I think.  What do you think?