Life as Art

The last 10 days or so have been a roller coaster.

In my last post I related my ecstasy at finding out my potentially fatal disease is under control.  I have held on to that joy to some degree and sought repentance to God in thanksgiving.

Further, I have found myself more focused on other people. I shared the proceeds of a gift card with two people in a coffee shop last weekend. It reminded me of the movie “Pay It Forward”. I did it out of compassion I believe for the two friends who wandered separately into the store. I believe the Holy Spirit led me to do it.

Unfortunately, some long term bad habits have also reared their ugly heads in the last 10 days.

I again find myself mooning over women. I got a “like” on Facebook from my former crush and it set me into a tizzy. But I quickly came to earth when I noticed that she had switched her profile pic to one which included her new boyfriend. Bummer!

I also have been messaging with a flat out babe at work. We like to complain about our jobs. I also like to flirt . She does respond, but not as often as I would like. I think she is just being kind and humoring me. So this weekend I am just ignoring social media all together. It’s really freeing.

The worst sin that has bubbled up again is my tendency to lose my temper. This happened yesterday as I was walking home.

As I passed a parking lot on my street a couple of dogs scampered through and one of them came after me. I was tired and depressed and not in the mood to get attacked by a mutt. So I let the teenage girl trying to corral them have it.

“Get your dogs under control” I yelled. She was OBVIOUSLY trying to do that. But I was too agitated to give her some kudos for the attempt.

Things escalated when in the distance I saw through blurry eyes (I have poor long-range vision) a short fat younger guy with long black hair. He began to yell at me.

I could only hear parts of the diatribe due to the yapping mutt.

“Jackass”….”It’s people like you…” …”C’mon”.  This last phrase was uttered with the motion to bring it on.

Now the smart thing to do would have been to walk away. But hey, I have my pride.

I held up my phone and told fatso that I was going to call animal control. I think I also said “C’mon!” which also was not very wise given my age and pugilistic skills. I have always been more of a diplomat than a fighter. Not this time.

As all this was happening, a elderly black guy rode by slowly on a bicycle. He just chuckled, and kept chuckling. He stopped for a minute–and chuckled, Then he rode on–and kept chuckling.

Finally, in a state of confusion, I just walked down the sidewalk toward home. That would have been fine, except I also thrust my arm into the air. Attached to it was a hand with a middle finger jutting skyward.

When I got home I called 911. (Yes, I did.) I wasn’t sure it was going to work since my haven’t paid my bill and my account is suspended. But along with the carrier’s three digit number, the emergency line seems to be operable.

“What is your emergency?” I relate the whole story to the woman.

“What is the address?”

I thought,”How in the hell do I know?” I sputtered out that I did not know the dude’s address, but that he had threatened me, and his dogs were running loose. I tried to tell her a general location but couldn’t remember the name of the damned building.

“I’ll try to send someone by when they are available,” she said.

I thought,”Yeah right.” College football is in town today and every available police officer I am sure is committed to the thousands involved in that, not to some raging fart complaining about dogs and an unruly neighbor.

In retrospect, I realize I had been had. Satan got my goat.

How do I know? Well, for over two years I have been walking through this neighborhood and listening to a cacophony of dog barks, many of them aimed at me. Once a fairly large dog got out one night and came after me. These neighborhood mutts are an ongoing thorn in my side.

My friend, a dog lover, told me,”The dogs are fine. It’s the humans.” He was right. These morons leave their dogs to yap all day and night and aren’t even around most of the time to shut them up. It’s the rest of us who have to deal with them.

So Satan knew exactly how to ruin my joy. He knew exactly what button to push.

Then, there was the old age pensioner black guy. It would not the first time I have had angelic beings represented to me in the form of an aging person of African descent.

Now I am not saying, as some like to do with President Obama, that the devil presents himself as a black person. In fact, the other time I encountered an angel, it was an old black woman who saw my depressed mood and from her porch said words of comfort.

It’s just that it seems to me that the evidence is that God and Satan like to represent the principalities and powers in heavenly places to me as African (except for the guy who offered me a ride on morning. He looked more like “Bad Santa”.)

In any case, I realized after these 10 days that I have a long way to go in repentance. Old sins die hard.

I think God saw it coming though. I wasn’t planning on going to church this morning, but I ran into the pastor of the church I have been attending before this incident in my ‘hood and he had offered me a ride. So this morning during communion I was able to face my sinfulness head on.  My tendency is to run.

When this morning I explained to my housemate what had happened to me the day before, he interrupted me and said,”You were not in a fight with a neighbor. You were part of a French art film.”

I was not familiar with the genre, so I looked it up. Among other things, an art film stresses the symbolic and unconventional. That certainly describes what happened to me yesterday. In fact, it tends to describe my whole life to date.

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