I do not know if grouchy comes with old age or if in old age you are too weak to subdue it. I guess it does not really matter because I am having a little bit of trouble along this line. My grouchy seems to be getting out of control.
I remember the good old days, those carefree days, days when I did not let anything bother me. Oh, how I wish they would return.
Lately, it seems everywhere I go I run into people that irritate me. It does not matter if I am driving in a car or walking down the street or sitting in a restaurant, irritating people seem to be everywhere. At least, they seem to be everywhere that I am. Every time I turn around there is somebody irritating me. I am at the point where I am tempted to stop “turning around.”
Driving across town the other day I ran into, almost literally, some driver not watching where she was going. Barely missing her, I noticed she was talking on her cell phone. I am quite sure she did not even see me. I wanted to stop everything, get out of my car and give her a good piece of my mind.
But I didn’t.
It took me a few minutes to settle down and quiet my nerves and so I decided to go to a little café for a cup of coffee. Nothing seems to soothe my nerves quicker than a nice hot cup of Joe. Let them say what they will, coffee is my best friend.
Fortunately, I was not in a hurry, but it still was a situation that irritated me and stirred up the grouchy within.
I was standing in line waiting to order my coffee when the lady in front of me was trying to figure out what she wanted. I am not sure if this person had ever been in a café before, but she acted as if she did not know what she was doing or what she wanted.
Then she did something that accented the positive in my grouchy.
“Could I have a sample taste of that coffee?” she said to the person behind the counter.
At first, I did not know what she was saying. But he agreed and went back and got a little cup and gave her a sample.
“I’m not sure,” she said quite hesitatingly, “can I try another one?” And pointed to one of the coffees she was interested in.
I am absolutely positive that people should have the ability to make their own choices. I have no problem with that. My choice at that moment was to give that woman a good piece of my mind.
But I didn’t.
Finally, after tasting about 10 different coffees, she picked one and finally I was able to order my coffee and find a seat and enjoy it.
I say, “Enjoy it,” but it was rather difficult because my irritableness just would not go away. After all, there should be some respect for the person behind you when you are standing in line. Especially, if that person standing in line is me.
As I was sipping my coffee alone in the corner, some thoughts began to rattle in my head. The main thought emerging was that grouchy may be an inherited condition.
I began thinking of my father and his father and unfortunately, I did not know my great-grandfather, but the two that I did know had a wide streak of grouchy in them. If my memory serves me correct, the older they got, the more grouchy became predominant.
So, if grouchy is inherited I am really not to blame. Just thinking about that made me chuckle a little bit. In fact, I began to chuckle so much that my grouchy ran away in fear of his life. And so he should.
As I sat in that café enjoying my 2nd cup of coffee, I began evaluating my life. I think I have found out why grouchy is becoming more dominant in my life.
Everybody is born with a certain amount of “mind.” We can do with that “mind” whatever we want to do with it. And so, if I begin giving people a “piece of my mind,” I am going to diminish my supply of “mind.”
When the “mind” gets low it introduces the level of grouchy. The last phase is when a person comes to the point where he “loses his mind.” Now, once you lose your mind, you can never get it back.
I am at the grouchy stage and so I need to take a little bit of inventory. I have only so much “mind” left and I better take care of because that is all I got. Whenever I am tempted to give somebody a piece of my mind, I am going to stop and think it over a little bit.
Does that person really does serve a piece of my “mind?” If I give that person a piece of my mind, will I miss it?
I like what Peter says, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).
I am going to protect my mind and use it wisely because it is all I got.
[Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail email@example.com. Website is www.jamessnyderministries.com.]