Thursday, November 1, 2007

P4E.047 Where There's Smoke...

I can't ignore the major news that has been all around me. Living in
Southern California, fire has dominated the news over the last week
and a half.

Many of the lessons that we are learning from the fires are useful and
seem obvious:

I should keep a defensible area around my home.
I should know what my insurance coverage is and where the physical policy is.
I need a plan for evacuation if necessary.
It would be a good idea to have a list of things I would want to
gather up if I needed to evacuate quickly.
I should take pictures or video of the interior of my home to document what might be lost to my insurer.

And so on....This is where we men naturally go when faced with this
type of circumstance.

But, I come back to the idea that God puts physical circumstances in
my life to teach me spiritual lessons
. My wife has recently told me
that I've been "edgy lately." Even the fact that I felt irritated by
the remark let me know that she was right. It is ironic that I work
for a company called "EDGE," because much of my edginess finds its
roots there. So, I have been "edgy lately." That translates to
impatient, frustrated and angry. It expresses itself in scary facial
expressions, verbal outbursts and physical exhaustion.

What I've been taught is that anger, impatience and frustration are
"secondary emotions." In essence, they are the "smoke" that indicates
that a fire is burning somewhere. Other important (primary) feelings
precede anger, impatience and frustration. As I think about how the
fires have made me feel, I've come up with this list:

out of control
ill prepared
financially unstable
awed (at the power of destructive ability of fire)
relief (at the fact that fire has not come my way (yet))
wondering (about the future)
sympathy for others' losses
outrage (at the thought of arson)
inspired (by the offers by so many to help and pray)

Two questions help me to determine the spiritual lesson from the
physical circumstance of the fires:

First, did Christ ever feel any of these emotions? 2000 years have
passed, but outrage then felt as outrage feels now. And a bridge is
instantly erected that connects me to Him. He came to be one of us, to experience what we experience, to feel what we feel. And when I acknowledge that He felt what I am feeling, it honors that effort on His part.

Second, have I caused someone close to me (my wife, first) to feel any of these feelings? Being self-aware enough to know how deeply vulnerable I can be made to feel by a fire...I wonder how vulnerable I've made my wife feel when the fire of my anger flares? I don't like all (Christ did not come to make people feel vulnerable, but to be strength to them)...I apologize for it...I ask forgiveness for
it...I commit to not letting myself put my wife (or others close to me) in a vulnerable position again. God, please help me in my weakness...

Peace, Kim


  1. Kim,

    I think you are right on the money with anger being a secondary emotion. I've been told that too, and in watching my own life, this seems to be the case. I know many men who are angry. Some explode and others seethe inside. Many men are like this.

  2. As a wife, I must comment on this issue due to my own struggle with trust of my husband.
    When you decided to go out on a date (and I say date because that is what it was)you told this single girl that you 1.want her
    2. Will risk your marriage for her
    3. put her above your alleged Christianity
    By your actions you have told your wife:
    1. You are not enough for me.
    2. You don't look as good as my girlfriend.(which is what you made the single girl when you went out on the lunchdate.)
    3. My "girlfriend's" good opinion of me meant more to me than yours...
    4. I will put our very marriage at risk for someone to look up to me as a savior, except you, tired old hag.
    5. I'm all talk and I can't seem to avoid sinning despite my claims of Christianity. You should expect me to fail in worse ways now that I've opened the door to Satan and he knows I'm weak for single women...or any woman.

    I can't be sorry for the harsh words but this is honesty. The result of your selfishness is extreme hurt to the woman you claim to love. Your wife should be first right after God. You made her last right after the girlfriend...shame on you! Your wife is entitled to hound you and check up on you and snoop into your personal items until her heart is content that you are not messing around. Sadly, you may push her over the edge and she will find someone else who does appear to "want" her to the exclusion of others. Women are usually the filers in court, you know. Christian men, in my opinion, should be held to a higher standard, but they don't seem any better off than the atheists. Now, traditional Catholic men who actually follow their Church's teaching and go to Confession...receive Jesus worthily...they do much bettter at being pure. My husband has never given me any reason to mistrust him with women. Yet, I am torn up because he now has a single, young female co-worker. I know she'll fall for him-he is good-looking and very much a gentlemen. I'm dealing with the damage done to me by someone else before he came along. My husband lives his Catholic faith:no porn, no self-abuse, no drugs, no misusing alcohol, no oogling women, he turns his head at bad commercials...and this has been the same for 10 yrs. I've checked up and over and under and I never found porn on his phone, computer, laptop or caught him watching it. He recently went on a business trip-(his 1st & only) and happened upon an HBO show on porn. He watched it for 5 minutes as they showed nude women and men. He told me because I flat out asked. He said he was rather caught off guard by it & it was more of a curiosity than anything. He didn't realize they showed that stuff-we don't have HBO. He went there looking for a movie.It opened up a huge load of trouble in our marriage. He said he was sorry, he had turned it off, it didn't affect him nor did it become part of a fantasy...
    What I heard was:Honey, yes, I watched other women naked. I watched it because you don't look too good after 10 years and 4 kids. You need implants and surgeries but I won't let you because it costs too much. It was cheaper to just watch those others on HBO. I will probably be thinking about them when I am loving you, just to get by. I can't help comparing them to you-if you were even in the same ball-park but you aren't so I can't compare.
    I have struggled with terrible thoughts of what he will do next. I also struggle with temptations to get attention from other men to show him I am attractive. Lucky for him, I would never cheat. Lucky for him, I am a Catholic who takes my Faith seriously. Lucky for him, I resist the temptation to anything at all to hurt him or get back. I even avoid burdening him with these feelings that have continued unabated since the "incident". I love him and I want him to be happy. I know my mistrust will injure him. He is a human being that males mistakes and I want to forgive him. (You get to be the lucky one to read them.)

    Please don't ever do that to your wife again!!! I am glad to notice that you seem to "get it" as to why you shouldn't. I just wanted you to hear from a woman about how she may have felt. And don't answer me by email because you shouldn't be even emailing other women. I am doing what Catholics call a spiritual work of mercy:Admonishing the sinner & instructing the ignorant (unknowing).

    Mrs. Maureen