I’ve been a bit grumpy lately.

I was coming home with fish and chips last night when I nearly ran over some kids who were riding their skateboards on the street in the dark. I pumped the horn loud and long to let them know I wasn’t impressed and they offered a few suggestions to me as to what I could do with myself. Instead of just driving on and leaving it at that I slowed, backed up and chased them. When I had them in my sights I hopped out and yelled ‘get off the road – you dickheads!’. I think they were a little scared as I heard a rather timid ‘yes’ in response.

I drove off snarling, but thought to myself ‘you’re the dickhead…’ It was a very unneccessary and inappropriate response but it flowed out almost effortlessly.

I think it was partly a result of other factors in my life at the moment.

Over the last few weeks we have been trying to help out some local families who find themselves in difficult life situations. As a result we currently have a little fella living with us whose mum is in hospital. I know that as a person who calls themself a follower of Jesus I should just be willing and happy to help out, but the last week or so I’ve been a bit over it and its made me irritable and edgy.

Without saying too much, it seems that when ‘mum’ has a meltdown, no one in the immediate family wants to know about it and a 7 year old is left with no-one to look after him. The government authorities will kick in with crisis care, but its not real good for a kid whose life is already disturbed. Usually ‘mum’ rings us first, and the last two times this has happened he has finished up in our home.

Its a long story and the personal details of it aren’t mine to put up here. But it has left me emotionally drained.

With a steady flow of visitors coming and going from our placey, as well as Danelle being a way for a week i was already feeling weary. So an added face around the house who we need to ‘train’ somewhat, adds to the load and last week I felt like my ability to cope and be a decent human being all but evaporated.

I have been reflecting on whether it is just that I am selfish and his presence inconveniences me, or if I am more tired than I had realised and in need of a more substantial rest. The last time he came I coped ok and while I do like to have space at home, I am also quite used to having people live with us. However most are adults and some are even moderately functional. 🙂

I have increasingly been feeling that the work we do here in Brighton with its very high relational component suits Danelle down to the ground, but is less so something that I am naturally gifted at. I think part of the reason I am doing a practical job is so that the task oriented side of me gets a decent work out and I find more satisfaction in life.

I reflected recently that it sometimes feels like Danelle and I have reversed roles and she is now the primary worker in our community with myself supporting her. Another role reversal is that now I feel like the one operating less from a position of strenght and giftedness, whereas in church life she was the one who had those feelings. Running a children’s ministry in a church of 400 people took a bit of organisational and leadership grunt and this was not Danelle’s forte, whereas it was one of my more natural skills. She was often tired by it and it wasn’t a good fit for her.

So at times I find the chaotic relational nature of our lives more wearying than I would care to admit (even though that is what I am doing now) and wonder if I am pushing myself too hard to be someone I am not.


And its a really important ‘or’…

Is this just part of the way in which God is shaping me into a more healthy and Christlike human being and the stresses I experience actually shape my character in a healthy way? If a significant portion of the christian life is ‘cross carrying’ and ‘self denial’, and we know that when we sign up – then should it surprise me if it actually happens?

My jury is out on that one at present, but I think the answer is likely ‘yes’…

Perhaps in the wash up of our lives I will bcome a more compassionate human being and that would be a good thing.

I just hope I can stop being such a grumpy bastard soon…

17 thoughts on “Grumpy

  1. Hamo – That one made me laugh. More so because it is the way I feel more often than I care to admit. It makes me hope that I am not moving toward becoming one of those grumpy 80 yo buggers that are friends of my father’s.

    Last weekend I called the police to come and tell some dudes out the back of us to quiet down after playing 6 hours of bass thumping rubbish into the early hours. I was disappointed that I didn’t have the energy (or more likely – the stones) to go over myself and give them a decent warning.

    I am beginning to think that my practical theology of life is crumbling – that the karma gig doesn’t work most of the time. Do the right thing by others and they will do the right thing by you. That the Christian version is actually more accurate. (Do the right thing and expect to be walked over by others)

    Apstl. Paul would have been a better friend of mine if he had not brought up that whole bloody kenosis idea . . .

  2. Hamo,

    Sorry, but I had to laugh. I have chased a few kids in my day too. Not to mention a rather angry driver. This post blessed me. It said, “he’s just like the rest of us”.

    I think sometimes we believe we need to act super Christian. It is ok to be real, to mess up and move on. As you pointed out it is about growing.

  3. Hamo – our lives are VERY similiar. I thought there was ony 1 Mother Theresa? – I’m discovering there are quite a few.

    Kerry and I married at Theo College, she went there to discover and be built up and equipt she instead married me and during 10 years of MY ministry was the Pastor’s wife. Yeap, frustrating indeed but I keep thinking for 10 years living in the manse she was nothing more than a servant and she served WITHOUT complaint.

    No – you go ‘girlfriend’!!!

  4. Know exactly how you feel , I am really good a getting angry with irresponsible youth on the road, then I remember that I used to be one of them and hung around plenty of others. Drinking and driving was a regular occurence in my life , I see now that its only the grace of God that kept me alive. Scarey thing getting older and forgetting how rebellious I used to be, and will I ever be more like Jesus, how would he have responded to crazy camel riders?

  5. Hi mate

    I feel your pain. A kid at Kalamunda SHS impressed his girlfriend calling me “Bald-f*$#r” as he walked past my car on Wednesday thinking because the car was running (and I had headphones on) that I wouldn’t here. I actually saw red (It may have been scarlet but I’m a bloke so I wouldn’t know), but I nearly got out and decked him. Wisdom got the better of me, but I was steaming. I can see that my reaction was way out of proportion (if you watch Skins on SBS on Monday night you’ll see he’s more normal than abnormal). Think I’m a bit stressed at the moment so I’ve put it down to that. Besides my theology of sin says I shouldn’t be surprised at what anyone says.

  6. Hehe – are you a grumpy bastard too Mark?! 🙂

    On the serious side, I do think the ability to sacrifice and be put out is one of themarks of what it means to be a follower and I find it frustrating that I am not better at this.

    I’m not a self flagellator – but I am concerned that I live what I preach. Lately things have been a bit below par on that front.

  7. Speaking personally – I have always been a bit of a grumpy misanthrope, not a very Christ like characteristic but that’s the good news. I learned a long time ago that it’s not so much what I do naturally that shines the light of God but by what He must change in me supernaturally.

  8. Interesting thought about giftings… I think there are various times in our life when we feel we’re being used to the best of our ability, and other times when the paddock’s a bit fallow. Over time I’ve figured maybe that’s not a bad thing. If we were on top of the game all the time we’d probably never make it through to retirement. Jesus, John the B, Jeremiah, David and lots of others had a bit of time in the desert and it didn’t seem to hurt them. As you say, Hamo, sometimes as a married couple one half of the couple has to have their time when the other’s off.

  9. Hamo, Steve, Simon etc… you guys are seeing the glass half-empty – I regularly GO OUT OF MY WAY to find meatheads riding all over the road, with no helmet and no idea of what’s around them. I inform them (politely at 1st) that ‘if they move over to the side, I promise not to run them over’.

    That’s where the fun starts!!

    Kids normally expect guys to give a quick spray and then move on when the kid gives one back.

    NOT THIS BLACK DUCK!! (I’m real brave when they’re 16 and I’m in a car!)

    I’ll go back and ensure their full understanding of the seriousness of their transgression and of my take on the situation.


    You could hear a pin drop…

    So – we’re not just grumpy bastards (although Hamo, you do sound tired – and understandably!)

    We’re just helping the youth of today to live long enough to be the dole-bludgers of tomorrow!

    It’s a community service!


  10. I think Alex hit it on the head. We are saved BY grace THROUGH faith FOR good works. All of us from the left to the right in all our neighbourhoods need to understand this in order for us to live the lives God has created us to live.

    I feel your frustration, Hamo.

  11. Frankly Hamo you probably did those kids – and probably their parents – a HUGE favour by yelling at them. There are just some things kids simply need to be told with no ifs, buts, or reasoning (as if kids are capabble of reasoning like an adult). They need to be told that in no uncertain terms for their own good. One of those things is not playing on a road.

  12. As for the little tacker, sticky. The poor mite is probaby old enough to realise his mum’s not well, and his own family doesn’t want him; on the other hand also important for you, your family, him and his mum that mum doesn’t get to use you as a dumping ground. No easy answers except that I think you offering him a family home even just for a few days is to be commended a million times over.

    Oh and chaotic relational stuff. No, relationships are fluid and dynamic, but if they appear chaotic, it may mean some boundaries need to be set and respected. Nothing wrong with that. There’s give and there’s take.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *