Monday, December 1, 2008

My Temper

for the most part i am a level headed person. i can handle criticism. i can handle conflict. and it really takes a lot for me to get heated. i've never been a short tempered person. growing up my brother always was. i actually found humor in it -which is a dangerous combination. you have no idea how angry i could make him. my sister did it too. man we could get him fired up. i remember once he got so mad he was bright red with rage and stuck his whole hand and arm through the wall. i thought he was crazy then. now I think its funny.

i don't really think that I am that way. if someone is furious with me and slanders my name - i can handle that. that is fine. but for some reason it is a very different story with sports. i have become so unbelievably competitive that i just get fired up beyond belief. i play dodge ball in the city league and have found myself more angry than i can comprehend. the biggest thing is when the other team cheats. i absolutely cannot stand it. you'd be shocked at some of the things teams try to get away with. i was shocked. and that is why i nearly found myself in a number of fistfights with a bunch of adult men throwing balls at one another.

ya know, i can remember specifically the last two times i have been furious. it always seems to be that the patriots seem to lose an important game immediately before i have to take a long trip in the car. when the pats lost the superbowl i was devastated. i was shocked. literally, i almost cried. i was furious. for hours - and i mean hours - i could not calm my heartbeat. and the next morning i had to get up and drive from minnesota back to ohio. it was about 12 hours. it was the longest 12 hours of my life. (by the way, this capped off a great week with family and my sister in law's wedding.) i was completely stunned.

the second time, and most recent, was when the patriots lost - in embarrassing fashion - to the miami dolphins. i was sitting in my brother's living room (the one who used to have the temper) with my wife and his wife watching the game. as each second passed, i felt my pulse begin to race faster and faster. finally, i couldn't handle it anymore and my wife and I decided to pack up and leave with 5 or 6 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. i just couldn't stand it. (this by the way, concluded a lovely family vacation at the beach). but I had to leave. i was completely shocked by what I saw.

maybe that is what fuels my anger. perhaps i cannot stand what i consider to be shocking. i cannot stand the fact that someone would say they didn't get hit by a ball, when it bounced right off their face. i cannot comprehend how the patriots lost. i just don't get it. honestly. i'm getting fired up just typing this.

but you get me, right? you understand what i am say? i mean, i hope you do. when someone is so clearly wrong. its shocking? its shocking when somingething is so clearly off. and the shock drives us crazy.

i recently came across a website which evokes this same kind of emotion. check this out: this will take your salary and tell you how rich you are compared to the entire world. this website should shock you. it shocked me. take a second right now and look at it.

ok. to americans, i don't make a ton of money. i'm conservative enough to not reveal my salary to anyone. privacy, whatever. but i will say this - my salary is between the top 1-10% of the entire world. in fact - it is significantly better than 10%. i know my salary. believe me - i do not make much money. this is crazy. this is shocking.

just for fun, plug in random salaries. lets see how the numbers line up. a person who makes $75,000, would be in the top .82% of the entire world! crazy! lets go low. check this out: a person who makes $10,000 is in the top 13.31% of the world! 10k, and you still make more than 75% of the world population?

a little lower now. lets say you make a terrible salary of $5k. that's only about $415.00/month. if you make that tiny salary, you are still in the top 14% of the world. you would only have to make 850 dollar annually, to be right at the 50% mark.

let me ask you something. does this shock you? shouldn't this shock you? shouldn't this anger you?

i think the thing that shocks me the most, is that we - you and I - are not doing anything to take care of this problem. we think we are. the church thinks it is. but we're not. let us be honest with ourselves - we don't do squat about this huge gap between the rich and the poor. there really is no middle class.

we give and give and give. but nothing happens. why? even though corporations and churches give millions to missions and people in need, nothing changes.

perhaps the biggest reason is comfort. we, those of us at the top, have learned to give and still be comfortable. we have learned what it takes to give a little extra from our income to help someone out. we, who have so much, have learned what it means to give out of our excess. but let me ask you something, is this right?

there is a difference between giving out of excess and giving out of sacrifice. giving out of excess has no real effect on us. nothing in our life really changes - except that maybe we don't buy a drink when we go out to eat. or perhaps we take a month off from shopping for clothes. ouch. that hurts doesn't it? man we really are being generous.

sacrifice. we're called to sacrifice. we're called to suffer with others. giving out of sacrifice hurts. this means we cut our budget. this means we deny ourselves to be sure someone else has all they need. this means selling our things to be sure someone else is taken care of. this means bringing that child into our home - and not just sponsoring them and sending them a card. this means a complete and fundamental change in how we live.

we must be angry. we must be shocked. and we must move. but i am afraid we won't give - and really give - until we're shocked into it. we must let this fester in us and cause us to lose our tempers.


Nancy said...

well that was a very interesting post! you are right about not getting angry when you were little, you were right about teasing your brother & you were right about the fist through the wall. but what happened on your drive home when you left your brothers house upset at the stupid football game? i'm sure everyone would like to know about that! don't let the silly pats cause your blood pressure to go sky high. not worth it! lol
the salary list is insane. we really need to learn what real sacrifice is & why it's so important. i agree we should be shocked about these things, but isn't it sad that most people are not. we've become so numb to what is considered the 'norm' we don't see the right from the wrong.
good writing Andy, thanks for the reminder about sacrifices. His was the ultimate one!

Margie said...

Wow Andy, what a great writer you are. I chuckled when I read it because Sean is a lot like you. Daine, my eldest had a temper and Sean was slower to burn. He's also very competitive in sports, and that can cause a slow red creep up his neck. Daine said when they were younger Sean use to do things to make Daine just get mad.. lol.. course Sean hasn't said that to me. You seem to be a lot like sean, both very spiritual young men, a bit on the michieveous side, and competitive as heck. He is also a good writer, but he doesn't blog I don't think. You should add him to your facebook and get him started. I wish that we could have been closer to you all when you boys were growing up, I think you all would have had a great time! Aunt Margie