My pulse quickened. I could feel the sweat begin rising to the surface of my skin. I closed my eyes, hoping that what I was seeing was not real, just some kind of horrible mind trick. My hands began to shake violently. A tear escaped from one of my eyes, followed closely by another. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
Finally, the realization sunk in. Depression and anguish filled my very soul. It was true: I had been ordered to shave my beard off.
Slowly, I trudged toward the bathroom. I pulled out the clippers that I normally use to groom my beard, now to be used for removing it altogether. As the clippers spun up to speed I inched the blades toward my face, closer… closer… I threw the clippers down and went back and reread the email. No, I had read it correctly, the beard had to go. As I used the foul clipper on my poor, normally unshaven skin I saw something emerge in the bathroom mirror. It didn’t look like me anymore. What I saw in the mirror was so foreign, so odd, so… strange, that I couldn’t figure it out. Then it hit me.
In the past I have said that I look like a Cabbage Patch doll without my beard. Not anymore. What stared back was too round even for a Cabbage Patch doll. No, I looked like Bunsen Honeydew, the Muppet scientist. Round head, glasses, no hair. I was, am, Bunsen Honeydew! Well, except I have eyes, which Bunsen doesn’t seem to possess. To misquote John F Kennedy, “Ich bin ein Bunsen Honeydew.”
It was disappointing, to say the least. My beard was graying and white, but at least it covered my face. More specifically, it covered my multitude of chins. Without the beard, I look like I am wearing a flesh colored turtleneck, one that has rolled up under my chin three or four times. Not a good look.
My disappointment eventually led to action. I decided to see if there was anything I could do. I’m still waiting, but at least I am not sitting around moping.
We all go through disappointing times. We all have days that seem like they will never end, where the darkness of the tunnel seems like it is miles and miles long. So what do we do? What are our options when disappointment comes our way?
We can get angry. We can lash out at the person or situation that disappointed us, and let them know the full fury of our anger and rage. That almost never turns out well for the people we are angry at, and it doesn’t turn out well for us. So what do we do instead?
How about being thankful? Now, understand, I am not thankful I lost my beard, but I am thankful I have a job that I enjoy. I am thankful I have eyes, unlike Bunsen Honeydew.
“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
You see, I can’t always choose what happens to me. I don’t always have a say in what goes on, but I can choose how I respond. I can lash out in anger, or be depressed, but in the end, both of those cost me so much more than they are worth.
Or, I can choose to try and find good in the situation, and praise God for whatever good I can find. Sometimes it is a sliver of good, but it is good, nonetheless. If I focus on the good, I can get my attitude right and start looking for God’s solution in the whole mess.
Still looking like Bunsen Honeydew… Jerry