Assuming the Worst

i am the worst.  The ugliest.  The stupidest.  The most callous.  Etc.

i don’t really believe those things, but they are ever-present in the back of my mind.  If something negative happens, i likely caused it or i deserve it.

Maybe i watched Lost in Space too often.  Every time i face a situation, i am convinced the worst possible things will take place.  i am the guy who is convinced that the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train.

Ok.  i do not worry about chicken fingers or frogs legs (which i have tried a number of times and have come to the same conclusion every time:  gross!

Somewhere there is a frog in a wheelchair and i feel just terrible.  Why did you take his legs?  Why?  They are terrible to eat!  Just stop.  We have rules about hunting frogs up here, if i am not mistaken.  I digress.  Again.  Get used to it.

It is time for the typewriter story.

When i was 15, i was brilliant.  Just short of genius, i tell people.  I’ve been tested.  Of course, i am also nuts, which sometimes interferes with the whole brain thing.  i suppose that kind of thinking eventually catches up with you.

It did with me.  My father felt that i could do anything i wanted if i would just apply myself.  All  about building character, that one.

Anyhow, our typewriter, an old Olivetta, if i remember correctly, stopped working.  You know the ones.  They were heavy as shit and came with a case that snapped on top and kept things safe.  Hey.  You kids.  This is like wagon train days, but i am serious.

When i first began pastoring, we had a Gestetner machine.  These marvelous inventions made it possible for us to print bulletins, etc, just by typing things once.  Unless you made a mistake.  If you forgot anything and made a mistake, it meant correct the multiple copies underneath.  Wagon train, kids.  Wagon train.

Back to our typewriter.  My father made a decision that i, being a smart boy, could fix the typewriter.  i, of course, had only used a typewriter in my typing class. I got a D in that class,, but my keyboarding skills are ok.

I took that class, by the way, so i could meet girls.  i also took Home Economics.  It was the first year boys and girls could choose whether to take Shop or Home Ec.   Shop sounded like a whole bunch of guys getting together who knew a lot more than me.

I knew how to cook.  Girls in Home Ec. Boys in Shop.  No brainer.  i signed up for the course with a couple of buddies, who decided to join me after i revealed my strategy.

Back to our typewriter.   Obviously i knew nothing about fixing typewriters.  But to my father, if you were told you could and should do something, then you should simply go out and accomplish your goal.  Be all you can be or whatever.

So i went into the basement, sat down on the carpet, and looked over the typewriter.  i have always been gifted at dismantling things.  Putting things back together.  Ah…not so much.  So i did what came naturally and took apart the typewriter apart.

i discovered later there was a little piece i could move that would remove the carriage.  Later.  As i continued taking the typewriter apart, i finally managed to lift the carriage off of the case.  Told you i can take things apart.

i picked up the typewriter and tilted it to look inside.  That is when i discovered the carriage rode upon little ball bearings.  And all of those ball bearings now rapidly escaped across the floor in an amazing attempt at escape.  i recaptured most of them.  not enough, it would appear.

I later learned that the carriage had never been the issue.  Yada ,yada, yada.  Bottom line is the typewriter was already broken.  Can beat a kid for breaking something that was already broken.

You think that is the end of the story?  Of course not.

Picture this, dear readers.  i am pastoring my first congregation.  A congregation that is growing (over 100 in morning attendance and some people would need to stand) and needs to expand, so we are in a building program.  As is usual, not all people think this is necessary, so there is the normal conflict.

Dawn and i had a new baby, Anita, so things at home were a little hectic as well.  Christmas was coming and the congregation was busy with all the festive stuff.

In the midst of this chaos, my father did something.  Something he thought was funny.  From Vancouver, BC all the way to PEI, my father mailed me a package.

My father always wrapped things in a ton of what you would call gorilla tape, so it took a minute to get inside.  It was heavy.

Yup.  The typewriter.  Still in pieces.  Must have cost a fortune to send.

There you go.  i know these episodes have a lot to do with how i view the world.  i have felt like a failure most of my life, even when i was successful, because of things which happened a long time ago.

A couple of days ago, Sarah asked me why it is that i always assume the worst.  Why do i assume the worst?  It has nothing to do with Sarah.  She is a super human being.

If i am honest, it has to do with me.  My brain grew up thinking bad things would happen.  The worst things would happen.. Failure.  Disappointment. Fear.  Do you know why?  Not my father.  Not anyone else.

It makes me comfortableThen, no matter what happens, i am ready.  Do your worst.  i am ready for you.  But what happens if all someone wants to give me is grace or kindness or mercy?

So many times in life i have despised the grace i have been offered by people who tried to care for me.  i am done.  i am through accepting all the negative input my brain throws at me daily.

The avocado is way ahead of me, but i am learning.  i went from 289 lbs to 230 lbs since we have lived here.  I have gone from a size 48 to a 38.  So i need to congratulate myself. Although this has never happened.

 

i quit smoking about 5 years ago.  My cholesterol meds were cut in half.  Now i am making positive strides toward Recovery and i am growing, for the first time in a long time.

It is ok for me to feel good about myself.  i have had a number of great days in a row, which is encouraging.  Not necessarily days when i felt great, but days when i knew i was making healthy choices.

 

You are likely doing some amazing stuff.  Go ahead and share it with others.  And be grateful for the opportunity you have to grow and change and progress.

i believe in you,

John

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