Vengeance is…Who’s?

As is human nature, our carnal mindset tends to kick into overdrive when we we’ve been hurt, angered, disgusted, or any other very human emotional response that’s powerful enough to completely override our impulse control. That’s usually about the time all rational thought goes out the window and is replaced by something that to us, a society of intelligent creatures with the ability to reason has been ingrained into our flawed, sinful characters since Cain first spilled his brother’s blood on that ancient patch of soil…

Revenge. An eye for an eye. You’ve wronged me in some way, committed some heinous act that I’ve decided deserves retribution, so now I must repay what you’ve done… with interest. You see it everywhere in the media, can barely turn a channel on the T.V, hear or song on the radio, or munch a bucket of popcorn in a crowded theater without touching on the highly publicized, worldly ideal that evil should be returned for evil…tenfold.

Now, If you’ve learned anything about God in your lifetime, whether you choose to be a believer or not, you’ve likely heard some of the more popular biblical principles that he’s imparted to us for the sake of leading us down the correct path in this crazy little thing called ‘life’; the  path of righteousness and salvation. The bible, or ‘basic instructions before leaving earth’ imparts these bits of Godly wisdom to us not to be cruel, or keep us from enjoying the life that we have been given, but because God, our Heavenly Father, has our best interest at heart. He created us, and in His image no less, so why would He wish for us to indulge in things that will cause us harm? I’ve never seen a parent watch their toddler lean over a hot stove and say, “Go ahead. Touch it, because I can see that you really want to.” Those parents would want to remove their child from the danger, and in much the same way, God put rules into place to keep us safe.

One of those rules and it’s a BIG one, folks, is given to us in Romans 12:19, which says, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

Now there’s a hard concept to for our ‘act now, think later’ fleshly selves to grasp.

This past week I was unfortunate enough (or dare I call it fortune because the situation didn’t involve me) to be on the outside looking into a turn of events that made me think long and hard about this very verse, in a way that I never had before.

I had never given this command much thought up until this point. Now don’t get me wrong, I followed it, but I followed it blindly. I had always just shrugged it off and thought nothing more of it other than that it was just God’s way of telling us to put our complete trust in Him. A test of faith. He’s got this, count on him to take care of it, and go about your business. While having faith and giving God control over difficult situations of course plays a huge part in this command, I realized that there’s a deeper reason for it, other than just pure faith. What’s that reason? ONLY GOD KNOWS WHATS TRULY IN A MAN’S HEART.

Let me explain. This situation I’m referring to, which I’ll simplify for the sake of those involved and convey to you to the best of my knowledge for the sake of understanding the point I’m trying to make, is something along these lines:

A man once committed a crime. He claims to have been set up by someone with a vendetta against him, angered the wrong people, and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whether there’s truth to the accusations against him or he truly was falsely accused and is an innocent man, though, is neither here nor there. He’s served his sentence, paid for this crime, and is going about his daily life. Working his job, supporting his family, and basically, minding his own business. There have been no further accusations against him since this one past offense.

Now someone else, and a Christian, no less, not even having an issue directly with him, but with his spouse, has decided to launch a crusade to destroy this man, going so far as to call his place of business to try and have him fired for those criminal charges from long ago that the man has already paid his debt to society for.

My point in all this is that it’s not up to us to judge what’s in a man’s heart and take matters into our own hands. God knows what’s in our hearts better than even we do, and only He knows if that man (or woman as the case may be), has truly repented and is trying to never repeat the same act of sin. It’s not our place to launch some hate-fueled vigilante justice crusade. You can try to convince yourself that your intentions are nothing but admirable, and say that you have the best interest of others at heart as you label your vengeance as an act of societal compassion, but God sees into the hearts of men, and He knows what’s in yours as well. Just because it looks like a cow and moos like a cow, He can smell when it’s a load of bull. You likely have no idea what’s really happening in the heart of the person that you’ve become hell-bent on destroying. Once you do exact your revenge on that person, the consequences and repercussions are likely to cause a wave of destruction, not just for them, but for you as well, and others caught in the path of your tornado of irrational action. God’s trying to stop you from wandering off the path that He’s laid out before you, because there are thorns to both sides. Don’t touch that hot stove of revenge and regret. Vengeance is HIS, and with good reason. It’s not a toy. We’re not meant to play with it.

Husband Number 2

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If I really want to start putting my marriage into perspective for you, I need to go back 10 and-a-half years ago to the day that I met the love of my life, who I have already introduced as husband number 2. The romance started with a ‘happy birthday’ wish that came across my screen in bright green letters in guild chat as we were running through the hills of East Karana searching for Giants to slay for gold with our band of merry treasure seeking guild-mates.

Lost yet? If you are, then you’re obviously not a gamer.  My husband and I met playing Everquest, or as they called it back in the day, ‘Evercrack’ because it was THAT addictive. We of course moved on to World of Warcraft when that became popular and played for several years, but that’s another story for a time when we wish to argue the pros and cons of Fire Mages and whether or not a Paladin can out-heal a cleric. These days I just dabble with different free online games, like Forsaken World, while he mostly plays games on the X-Box. It works for us, though.

When my husband and I first e-met, I was still in a relationship with my son’s father, and it was actually him that first introduced me to the large, foreboding ogre warrior that I would eventually marry…IRL (that’s ‘in real life’ for those of you that don’t know the gamer lingo), after a whirlwind 4 month online romance. Hey, when you just know, you know. You know?

Now before you get all ‘judgy’ on me for admitting this to you, I hope you’ll understand that when I met my husband, the relationship I was in was already at rock bottom and I had tried to end it several times to no avail. His answer to me when I’d try and get him to leave my apartment would always be “I aint goin’ nowhere, you’ve got my kid here.” Which is true, I did. However, when your relationship turns into nothing but a continuous battle, and every time your boyfriend gets a paycheck he disappears for the entire weekend to go and drink it away without even letting you know where he’ll be, it’s really not a ‘relationship’ at all. I had gotten to the point that if I knew it was the Friday that he was getting paid, I wouldn’t expect to see him until sometime Sunday night and I’d brace myself for the fight when I finally heard his key in the door.  It took me moving on and starting a new relationship to actually get him out of my apartment.

Staying together for the sake of the offspring created in the relationship isn’t always the best course of action if you just can’t make it work and you spend every moment together fighting. They say that there’s a fine line between love and hate, and I couldn’t even think back to the time when I’d officially crossed that line. I don’t hate him anymore, of course, because you can’t call yourself a Christian and still harbor hate for anyone in your heart. I didn’t attend church or have any sort of relationship with God at the time, though, so I didn’t really know any better. I was miserable and terrified of the man because he’d already struck me on several different occasions after he’d been drinking. In all honesty, I just didn’t make a great support team for an alcoholic with a bleeding liver and a mean streak of epic proportions. Besides, when you have to call your parents in the middle of the night to take you to get your vehicle (which he took off in without even asking, by the way) out of impound because your boyfriend has been arrested for drunk driving on an already suspended license, it really makes you take a long hard look at the direction your life is heading in.

Needless to say, he denies our son now because of his anger at me for finally throwing in the towel and walking away from the war that my life had become. He hasn’t spoken to our son or cared to know anything about his life in the 11 years that he’s been alive. When I tracked him down and sent him pictures about 6 or 7 years ago, he responded with, “that can’t be my kid, he looks nothing like me”, and that’s where he left it. I haven’t heard from him directly since. It doesn’t seem to bother my son, though. My husband has been the only daddy he’s ever known for all of these years, and he doesn’t even give his sperm donor a second thought.

Enough of that dreary little drama from days if old, though. My life has been much better since, despite the raging OCD that drives my family crazy.

My husband and I hit it off so well in our online relationship that it soon turned into phone calls, which led to him buying a plane ticket to Michigan where I was born and raised, to see me in person. He said some time after that first meeting that when he saw me standing there to greet him, his first thought was, “I’m going to marry that girl.” You always think that the silly, romantic notion of love at first sight can never happen outside the movies until it happens to you. That’s how it went, though, and as I stood there freezing my ta-tas off on a cold January day on a Florida beach, I still wasn’t sure what hit me as I exchanged “I do’s” with a man that I hadn’t even know for half a year yet. All I knew was that it had to be love. I can assure you, though, that it is love, and we couldn’t have made it the 10 and-a-half years that we have if it weren’t.

What can I say about my lover bear? He’s a morning person. I’m not. He likes sweet tea and coffee. I don’t. He likes math, and I’m pretty sure that 2 and 2 makes 5. He’s an amazing singer. I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, and my wailing along with the radio is so bad that it sends the neighborhood dogs into howling fits. Despite all of our differences, though, we still have a lot in common and have fun together when life doesn’t have us bogged down with our everyday routines. He’s just this big, obnoxious child, and even though there are times I want to gouge my eardrums out with a hot poker because he’s just so loud and boisterous ALL OF THE TIME, I still love the big lug with all my heart. I used to call him my hero when he first rescued me from my old life, and I still feel that way. We’ve had our ups and downs just like any relationship, but he’s fairly laid back and easy going, is willing to do just about anything for me, makes me laugh, and is adorably cute. Well, to me, anyways. I like to point to him and say to my teenage daughter, “look at that guy, isn’t he a sexy beast?” She just rolls her eyes and gives me that ‘seriously, mom?’ look. Then she says something along the lines of, “Ugh. Gross.” Ah, well, to each her own. I don’t really expect her to agree with me, I just enjoy yanking her chain. It’s one of parenthood’s guilty pleasures.

Let’s call this a good stopping point for now. In the next installment of my life I’ll start to introduce you to our house full of teenagers. Buckle up for that crazy trip. The twists and turns down that road are endless.

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Welcome to the Nuthouse

crazy-peeps

So here you are, and here I am. Are you prepared to step into my crazy world and embark on an adventure of mediocre proportions? You see, here in my world, if things aren’t completely mundane and routine, they’re just too insane to make up. There is no in between. Crazy is the new normal, though, so let’s embrace it together.

As with anything that requires a certain degree of thought, one must wonder when it comes to blogging: where does one start?

Well, I suppose THIS one will start with an introduction. That would be the logical choice, wouldn’t it?

I’ll save the family introductions for the next dose of insanity. There’s way too many of them and you’ll be here all day caught up in my household drama if I bring the fam in at this point. No, there’s plenty of time for that later, and in the words of the great Toby Keith, “I want to talk about me!”

My name is Shawn. Now, that’s not your stereotypical tall, youthful, manly version of the name that you’d imagine regaling his friends with dirty jokes and tales of girls gone by at the local pub, with a dart in one hand and a mug of something cheap and frothy in the other. No, you can picture me as more of a 5’2, frumpy (or any other politically correct term for ‘fat enough to snore like a cave bear’), pushing 40 housewife with a head full of creative ideas but absolutely zero ambition, and legs in such need of some razor attention most days that Chewbacca leaves me love notes. But hey, my house is spotlessly clean thanks to the OCD that I really do suffer from. So, I suppose I do manage to muster up some degree of ambition when necessary. Just not for anything important.

I love to laugh and make a joke out of everything, mostly at my own expense. As if you hadn’t already noticed, right? Hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself, you might as well pack it in early and get started on your one bedroom hovel and extensive cat collection. No one loves a sourpuss.

If I’m being honest, though, I’m not giving myself enough credit here. I’m pretty artistic. If you told me to draw a fly, squiggly line, or family of frolicking squirrels mingling with a herd of geese while a Golden Retriever is about to give chase, with the New York City Skyline and a glorious sunset in the background, you’d at least be able to tell what it is once I’m finished. Artistic ability is just one of my 2 God-given talents, though. The other would be my organizational skills, which happen to be legendary in certain circles. (See? You’ve heard of me already, haven’t you?) We can accredit those to the OCD, too. After that, I’m just your average mom of one of the most obscene words in the English language: teenagers. I’m looking toward middle age with dread, packing way too much junk in my trunk due to my affinity for junk food and carbs (hello, pasta!), and as I believe I’ve mentioned, suffering from a severe lack of ambition, motivation, drive or whatever tag you want to stick on laziness. Exercise is the dirtiest word in my arsenal of things that should never be mentioned out loud.

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I wasn’t always this way, though. I was pretty cute back in my younger days, which is how I managed to land the former husband number one, and the man currently holding strong in the position of husband number 2 for the past ten years. I have to give the man credit, too. It’s a tiring job, I assure you, and the benefit package isn’t that great. This crazy little thing called ‘love’ ends here, though. Should anything go wrong this time around, I’m not dipping my pole into THAT pond anymore. I’ll get a dog. A small, male dog that I can totally emasculate by carrying him around in an oversized purse while wearing large, floppy hats, flowered dresses, and slathering on way too much of some hideously colored lipstick. Call it my back-up plan. Let’s hope it never comes to that, for your sake, and mine.

Now, as far as work goes, I try to stay actively involved in my church and do a lot of volunteer work. I run a thrift store there on the weekends, which comes complete with a whole plethora of crazy stories due to the unbalanced people in ‘the hood’. I’ll save those stories for another post, though, so that you’ll have to come back for the sake of curiosity. The job does have its rewards, though. We have a food pantry and I get the honor of handing out food to the homeless and needy on a regular basis. Take this sweet old widow named Betty for example, who will come in and see me maybe once a month, and she’s too proud to come right out and ask for help. So, we have our usual routine where I’ll say, “It’s good to see you, Betty. Could you use some groceries?” Then she’ll tear up and say, “If it’s not too much trouble.” Then I just can’t help but hug her because she’s so sweet and adorable. (Awwww)

I also recently did a short stint as the Media Director and contributing writer for a bridal magazine. By short stint, I mean bent over backwards and worked my tail off from October to April until the magazine pretty much exploded into a glorious hailstorm of drama and accusations worthy of any rivaling high school girl gangs. If you like a good jaw dropper, stay tuned for that story, which will come soon. It was a nice dream, full of promises and hope, but in the end, it won’t break my heart to see it go. I have plenty to keep me busy. Like my part-time ghetto apartment painting job at the property my husband manages. I say ghetto, not because I’m terrible at it. In fact, I’m quite good at painting and the apartments that I paint usually get rented out quicker than the others. No, I say ghetto because if a cockroach crawls across your hand while you’re painting due to the disgusting way that the people in the community treat their apartments, yeah, you’re in the ghetto. I’ve made a game out of it, though. I’ll paint their little butts white or put a white stripe down their back so that I can identify them later. I’ve tried to break it to my husband that he’s a slum lord, but he’d much prefer looking at his job through rose tinted glasses. It pays the bills (barely), though, so I can’t complain about his job too much other than the fact that he’s grossly underpaid compared to what a certified property manager should be making. How grossly underpaid? We live at poverty level with 5 kids. His company does take us on a nice cruise every October, though. I consider it a consolation gift for the fact that my husband works for peanuts when he should be making pistachios.

Come fall I’ll also be putting in a couple hours a week teaching high school art the co-op that our gaggle of homeschooled children attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m looking forward to corrupting…err…molding young minds and sharing my love of art and color with a room full of the ‘I’d rather be texting and probably will be when you aren’t looking’ crowd.

I believe that pretty much covers the colorful life I lead. I’m sure you’ll learn more about me as time goes on, but for now, I’d guess that you have a pretty good image of me painted in your mind’s eye.

I hate to say ‘the end’ so I’ll just leave you with what my daughter likes to point out as one of my favorite sayings: “Quite frankly, it is what it is.”