Today I have the incredible privilege of introducing you to Bill Blankschaen. Don't be intimidated if you can't pronounce his last name because he calls his blog Bill in the Blank. You'll find a treasure trove of inspiration, wisdom and insight there and I highly recommend you visit often to fill in the blanks in your life. Please help me welcome Bill!
by Bill Blankschaen
I hate yellow jackets! I know God made all creatures and all He does is good. I still hate them. But with good reason. I’m pretty sure the pesky wasps hate me.
Not long ago, I tried to teach my sons how to check decaying wood for harmful pests before moving a pile of logs. I picked up the top log while lecturing them – and it happened. Now, I don’t know if it was on the first sting or tenth one that I realized something was wrong. I confess I never saw those insipid beasts. But I felt them. First on my hand. Then on my head.
In what must have been less than a nanosecond, I realized we were under attack and said the only wise, fatherly thing I could think of: “Run!” Fortunately, my boys obeyed immediately. (There’s a parenting lesson in there somewhere.)
Usain Bolt may have won the gold medal in London, but we covered that same distance to our pool in a lot less than ten seconds. And he didn’t have to wildly swat the air around him as he ran.
I tossed in one kid, pushed in the other – good swimmers all – then jumped in behind them. Half an hour later, we were icing down welts that would fester and itch for weeks.
Ever since that fateful encounter, I’ve been on high alert for anything resembling those black-and-yellow demons. I live each moment at the ready, my highly tuned reflexes poised to react ahead of their pernicious stings.
My wife says I’m just jumpy. Right before she laughs.
The worst of it came when I nearly twisted my back into bits trying to avoid a vicious -- fluttering butterfly. Ok. Now you’re laughing? Really?
Is it really all that rare for us – any of us – to jump when nothing is there?
I think we do it all the time.
Often when we overreact to people around us, we’re not reacting to them. Not really. We fear some pain we experienced long ago that has nothing to do with them. It’s a pain that we take great care now to avoid. Something or someone stung us. So we jump. Even at butterflies. With disastrous consequences.
What if when we lose it, we’re really not reacting to our tired spouse, our noisy kids, the chatty co-worker, or that church committee member with the pushy attitude and that annoying habit of – well, you know who I’m talking about. We all have those testy encounters that trigger a slow burn somewhere deep within, reminding us of hurts festering from long ago.
You know, come to think of it, what if they aren’t the problem at all? What if we swat at them when they really mean us no harm? Worse, how often does God send a butterfly to beautify our life – and we yelp and run for cover.
Sure, life can be a dangerous place. But holding on to our hurts only ensures we live in fear of being hurt again. At some point, we have to let it go.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to check before moving a log – or losing my cool – next time. But I still think that butterfly was about to put a nasty ninja move on me.
And mosquitoes? Don’t even get me started.
Do you see this tendency to jump at those closest to you because of past hurts? Tell your story or suggest some solutions with a comment so we call can grow.
Photo credit: Photo via http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthur_chapman/6189531842/ (Creative Commons 2.0)
Bill Blankschaen is a writer, thinker, speaker and non-profit leader passionate about connecting real life with real faith. As a father of six awesome children, he blogs about family, life, and leadership at www.BillintheBlank.com.