Monday, September 28, 2009

Grief, and not the good kind.

Scene of the crime in Apple Valley California

Can I set the background in order to attempt to justify my really bad behavior? OK, I want to blow a little smoke so I don’t look quit as stupid as I feel about this. It would help if you would picture me as the poor victim of harsh circumstances, you know read this with pity in your eyes. What the heck, just read it, I’m a lot more guilty than you would probably accuse me of anyway. So here’s my story:
Deanna and I were fresh out of seminary and beginning our first pastorate. I didn’t make much money in seminary, but Deanna did so we were fine back then. I was warned I would take a huge cut in salary to go into ministry, especially in a small town where Dee wouldn’t make the money she had in LA. And then there was Doni, so Dee didn’t work anyway. The pay cut was HUGE! Over half. We went WAY out on a limb and bought a modest home for $20,000. Remember these were 70’s dollars! Anyway, money was tight but we were squeaking by and quite happy. The house had a screened in patio that I wanted to convert to a den so we scrapped enough cash together to insulate the walls and throw up some fake wood panels and a carpet. My dad was in the one healthy phase of his life (healthy being a relative term for a heart patient) and he was helping me with the paneling. I am not a great carpenter. To be honest, I am not good, ok, I am pretty bad, but I was all I had to work with so I did it myself with dad’s guidance. Things were not going to badly until I accidently double cut across one of the panels, ruining it. I would have to buy another one and I did not have any more money. So I did what I sometimes did in those days and threw something across the room. My dad looked at me and said quite calmly, Don, I am not going to work with you if you are going to act like that. I would have preferred he hit me. Honest, the saw could never cut as deep and true as my dad’s words did. I think it hurt him to say it too. You have to understand that when I was growing up he was a virtual invalid. I was always his hands and feet for his projects but now I really needed and wanted him to be there with me. This was a rare moment when we could work together and I blew it big time. I know he loved being with me and working on my project but he needed to teach me something far more important that day. As much as it grieved him he did what needed to be done for my benefit at the risk of what he really wanted to do with me. I felt really ashamed of myself and reigned my temper in. We finished the project and it came out pretty good, if I do say so my self. (that how ever was NOT the building inspectors opinion when I went to sell the house but fortunately he was a close friend of my father’s and he help us get it up to code! Or maybe it was the crush he had on Deanna when they were teenagers) I still feel a little ashamed when I think of that day. Obviously it was not the only time in my life when I did such a dumb thing, but it was the day I began to learn not to. I’m thinking this is what I sometimes do to my heavenly father. I keep up some immature, childish action or attitude until …for my own good…He must say, Don, if you are going to act like that, I can’t work with you. It grieves him to say it because He dearly loves to be with me but sometimes He has to do what a father has to do. Thank God for fathers who will do that for a child they love.the shack study guide


Aimee said...

Dad I so appreciate your honesty and humility. I feel like it gives me the chance to look at my own actions and recognize a need for change, but without feeling ashamed. I treasure all your stories and struggles because first, they are yours and second, I learn so much from them!

Doni Brinkman said...

Agree with what Aimee said "Andy". ;)

heidi jo said...

woah... humbling... i've had one too many of these moments myself. it's good to know i'm not alone but even better that HE is helping each of us as we let him.