Castles in the Sand

When the waters rise, will our castles remain?

Five days. That might be a new record.

Over the years I’ve somehow established a confidence in advising people. I’m not really sure how this happened. I’m not old and wise and I haven’t really had enough successful life experience in much of anything to warrant my liberal desire to share advice.

This can work a few different ways. People can ignore whatever I have to say, and depending on how things work out they’ll be either happy they did so or I’ll have a chance to be obnoxious and say, “I told you so!” (Side note: I like to believe I’ve matured past stooping to that snide comment, but who am I kidding?). Or, people can follow whatever advice I share and either have it work out well or blow up in their faces.

Naturally, I remember many times I’ve offered brilliant advice, which worked out perfectly for the other person. Naturally, I don’t remember any times I’ve offered bad advice that failed to work out. In a completely unrelated revelation, I’m pretty sure I have a very selective memory.

But one of the things I hate most in life is when I offer some fairly tough advice to someone (even at times wording such advice in the form of a threat…), and sometime down the road I face a similar circumstance requiring the same action. That sucks. It makes me feel quite guilty if I’m unwilling to follow my own advice that I so generously share with others.

Which brings us to right now, or more accurately, five days ago. My last post was all about sowing, reaping and trusting God to work it all out in the proper timing. I even quoted Galatians and talked about the importance of perseverance and everything. I was encouraging people to continue doing good, serving God and persevering despite their current struggles, because God has promised a harvest at the proper time.

Then the last few days happened.

I’m a fairly laid-back person, and it takes fairly extreme circumstances to really stress me out. Growing up I stressed out all the time and had a horrible temper; I would snap at pretty much the first opportunity. Somehow God has blessed me by bringing me out of those struggles, granting me the tiniest portion of patience and self-control (emphasis on the “tiniest portion” part – I’m still nowhere close to where I should be in regards to patience and self-control).

But the past couple weeks have been difficult. It hasn’t been anything worth sharing publicly, just little things that have been magnified by the fact that the sports schedule has slowed to give me more free time to dwell on tough circumstances. We all deal with these things, so it really wasn’t a big deal.

Then my work laptop’s hard drive decided it had lived a good, full life and bid adieu to this world. My work laptop is less than two months old. I don’t think my hard drive had a firm grasp on time and what constitutes a “good, long life.”

So all of my work from the past two months or so – event photos, game stats, archived videos and release notes, etc. – gone forever. When my computer is fixed and returned to me next week it will be a clean slate, meaning I will have probably a week’s worth of work putting everything I need back on it. That is, everything I need that hasn’t permanently been dissolved into nothingness.

If I thought Friday was bad, today took it to a whole new level. Without sharing more details than need to be shared, I received a very harsh email attacking my personal character and ability to do my job. Now, this email was full of fallacies and in general lacked any credibility, but when placed atop everything else that has been wearing on me recently it pretty much brought me to empty.

I took a lengthy walk through Ashland in the periodic drizzle of rain, without a hood or an umbrella (I’m a native Seattleite – it’s misguided and I don’t understand it, but we don’t believe in umbrellas). The whole time I listened to some encouraging music and just tried to think and talk to God.

Then it hit me. I had just written about this five days earlier. It’s there on the internet for all to see – I can’t escape it.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.” Galatians 6 speaks again.

I’m not going to give up. Perhaps in the past I would have. Actually, in the past I would have flipped out by this point and said/done numerous things I would later regret. But not now.

I might be too liberal with my “advice.” But here’s the thing: I actually believe it. I hate when I’m forced into a situation where I have to eat my own words and do something difficult, but when that time comes I won’t back away. Hopefully that at least gives a hint of credibility to any encouraging words I offer.

But I really hope that next time I can have a bit longer than five days before I actually have to do it.

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