Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh, you heard that?

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. - Proverbs 29:11

In my younger days I had my share of foolish times. I'm not saying it doesn't still happen in my older days, but hopefully much less often. During some of those foolish times I was able to "give full vent to my anger" in private; however, I sometimes wasn't as alone as I thought.

Many, many years ago I had a terrible cell phone. Well, the phone was OK; however, the battery wouldn't stay secure and would sometimes come loose in the middle of a call. And since there wasn't power, I would lose the connection.

One time this happened I was in the middle of leaving a voicemail for a friend. I was telling her I was on my way to pick her up for lunch when I heard the call disconnect. I looked at the phone in disgust, threw it on the passenger floorboard of my car, and vented my frustrations with a barrage of obscenities aimed at the phone. Never has an inanimate object been the subject of such a scolding.

A few minutes later I was picking up the friend. She asked me why was I screaming obscenities in the voicemail. I said, "Oh, you heard that?" Apparently, the call didn't really disconnect and she heard every word. So yes, she did hear that.

And she thought it was so funny she replayed the message for all of her coworkers. Repeatedly.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mysterious ways

They say the Lord works in mysterious ways. I guess that's another way of saying that we don't always know or understand what His plan for us is. Trust me, there's a lot I don't understand. :) (And no, I don't know who they are, but they sure do say a lot.)

My parents wanted three kids. That was their plan. First, they had my brother Richard. A few years later, when my dad was stationed in England, they had my brother Robert. I never got the chance to meet Robert because after a little more than a month, he passed away from fluid on the lungs. A couple of years later, when dad was stationed in his final stop of Texas, they had my sister Teresa.

Again, my parents had planned on three kids. So a couple of years later they tried again. And they had twins. Since I am the younger twin, my incredibly handsome brother Ron has always maintained that they didn't actually want me. My rebuttal has been that it was a shame then that I turned out the best. (No, that's not really true, but it's the only rebuttal I have.)

I would never claim that having Ron and me was a blessing in disguise, because there is plenty of evidence to the contrary, but I think about my brother Robert when I'm confused about the paths my own life has taken. Sometimes we just have to trust that there's a bigger plan for each of us.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

You're a better man than I am!

Over the years I've received my share of compliments. Of course, I've also received my share of insults and criticisms, but that's not important. As for the compliments, there was one that surprised me more than usual.

The MS150 is a 150 mile (or more) bike ride in various cities in which the proceeds from donations benefit the National MS Society. The Houston to Austin MS150 is around 170 miles over two days, with an overnight stay in La Grange. The first day is around 100 miles of mostly flat riding. The second day is around 70 miles and goes through Bastrop and Buescher State Parks. This part of the ride also has a few more hills in it.

None of the hills are difficult for the professional or frequent riders, but a lot of the people riding the MS150 are neither professional nor frequent riders, including me. So, on some of the steeper hills people would have to walk their bikes to the top and catch their breath. The really difficult hills would have many, many people sitting at the top resting and catching their breath.

I've ridden the MS150 four times, but I only finished it three times. The first year I had the flu and had to drop out after 80 miles (detailed here). My second year I was determined to finish it. Plus, to make up for not finishing the year before I gave myself an additional goal of not having to walk my bike up any of the hills.

On that second day during the hilly section most of the hills weren't a problem. As I was riding I saw the steepest hill of the ride coming up. I could see several people walking their bikes up the hill, so I accelerated to get some momentum. About halfway up the hill my pace slowed considerably, almost to a stop. I stood in the saddle and forced my legs to keep peddling. A few agonizing moments later and I reached the top. I sat down in the saddle and exhaled in relief.

Unbeknownst to me, some people resting at the top had been watching me battle my way to the top. When I got there, there was a few congratulations yelled in my direction. However, one of them caught me off guard.

After it got quiet, a woman yelled at me, "You're a better man than I am!"

No woman had ever said that to me before (or since), so I wasn't quite sure how to respond. With a confused look, I gave the only response I could think of:

"Uh, thanks?"