The new year is supposed to be better than the old, right? After all, isn’t that what everyone hopes for? Hopes, yes, realizes … sometimes not so much.
Not three weeks into the new year and our household has:
- Replaced all the burners on the stove.
- Called for repair of the washing machine.
- Fixed the dishwasher (of course, the part didn’t fit).
Long-time readers might remember I lost one of my dogs a while ago, and now my only dog is sick.
This is my dog. Just a few weeks after he was born, he got parvovirus (severe stomach flu, usually fatal). I sat up with him at night, cleaned up when he barfed (which he did a lot), and visited him during his week-long stay in the hospital. At one point the doctor could find no white blood cells in his little disease-ravaged puppy body.
Ugly. Nasty. Depressing.
Eventually he recovered, but that’s my dog you’re messing with bucko; with recent events, only one conclusion can be drawn.
It’s no longer strategic, it’s personal.
My dog never teachers on Sunday, writes no books, never blogs (lack of an opposable thumb hinders him quite a bit). No strategic reason exists to bother with him.
So I do what any normal, well-adjusted person would do, that’s right, I want to quit. Throw in the towel. Fold. Retire. I’ve had enough, really I have. I’ll quit, just leave the dog alone; every time I speak for the Lord I end up in the muck, so I’m not going to do it anymore.
Then I remember a guy tried that.
Okay, maybe it’s time to run in the opposite direction.
That didn’t work out too well either.
I write a lot about trials and stubbornness because … well … that’s life. Naturally when these things happen to me, and I remember all I’ve written, I respond with …
Yeah, but this is different.
It’s common for people to think their situation differs from others, that they’re all alone, but reality is that’s not true.
Sure the details might differ, but someone else has crawled over the same dirt you have.
While my dog was sick, I was supposed to attend a mens conference, and the thought made me cranky. Not only for leaving my dog, but anyone knows me understands I posses the social skills of a grapefruit (and the comparison insults all citrus). Socialize? Yeah, right, that’ll turn out well.
One guy I look forward to seeing, someone who we used to go to church with long ago (he once said told me he prayed for God to strike him dead if he was ever out of His will. That’s not something I’d do, because I’d never finish writin…).
He provided the same advice he usually did. His (should be) patented three-step program.
Suck. It. Up.
Stunning in its simplicity, beauty in its brilliance, rough in its reality — and advice I’d more or less given to others thousands of times.
You see, it’s not only super-saints who must stay in the game, it’s everyone. Paul was who he was because of a single-minded purpose. He was no better or worse than anyone else.
Sometimes as Christians we’re a bit too polite (I’m told I’m not supposed to use “crap” for example), but I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.
Tell the enemy to go to hell; you want to start a war, well now you’ve got it — my guys are bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, better, don’t bail out of a fight, and they don’t leave anyone behind.
Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.
You betcha. We’ve elevated to a whole new realm of stubbornness.
In Taekwondo, I’m not the strongest, youngest, or fastest, but what I can do is work harder and longer than anyone else. Stubborn. Tenacious. It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, or what physical condition you’re in. Everyone can make the goal to work harder.
Our class started out with 20 or so students several years ago. Out of those 20, only four or five remain. Of those, only two — two — remain on track to get their black belt this October (three years from beginning).
You might guess I’m one of those, as even a broken arm from training won’t stop progressing towards the goal. Goals? You can’t hit what you can’t see, and if you don’t have a goal, you can’t accomplish much.
Be stubborn. Never give in. Never surrender.
The year looks to be crap? So what. I didn’t start the fight, but I know how it ends (the answers are always in the back of the book), and with new awareness of enemy tactics, they can’t sucker-punch me again.
You want to make it personal? Bring it.
Because even my dog knows — it’s always 3AM.