I used to consider myself a calm person. I must have been 11 or 12 because I was pretty naive and unaware of myself. At the time, I knew I had a temper, but I also did my best to keep it at bay. Looking back, I lied to myself quite frequently about my personality. I had my long stretches of calm from time to time, but in a most irregular pattern, my emotions come back up. I try to be calm in the storm; I try to be faithful and trusting that God is in control.
I can go on for days, weeks, and even months when everything just seems to be smooth sailing. I get just enough wind to fill my sails and press forward. When the wind dies, I go down to the oars and get to work. During a storm, I guess I'm no longer as sure about my best course of action. There are times that I wish I could bring in the sails and hunker down below deck. It seems that as an adult, I feel more and more the need to put on my best rain gear and stay on deck through it all. I hope while I'm at the helm steering my life through the storm that Christ, my captain and chief, will guide me.
There are days that I just love my job. I feel like I've helped somebody move forward with their life or their business. I feel like I've brightened somebody's day. These days are awesome days. They're the days that make all the work worthwhile.
Then there are days that started with the weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday right at the end of my shift a call came in and I had less than ten minutes left on the phones. Both nights it was a call that extended further out than I wanted it to. I just wanted to go home to my waiting wife. Frustrating, but livable situations. I'll deal with that just fine. I get off and it's over.
Those two final, extra long calls are followed by last night:
"I'm so sorry you couldn't do what I thought you would be able to do"
"I don't know why I wasted my time or anyone else's time with this"
"You sound just like every other jerk that works at [business's name]"
The last one was my last call last night. I've never been so frustrated, mad, or upset at this job. When the gentleman launched into that rant, I just hung up on him. My job is to smooth out transactions and, when necessary, make decisions on cases. I'm not the complaint department nor am I paid to sit and listen while you complain about this and that.
There were a couple of calls last night that pushed me to the brink of screaming back at these people, "WHY DON'T YOU GROW UP AND READ THE USER AGREEMENT?!?!" "I KNOW LIFE ISN'T FAIR, YOU HAVE TO LIVE WITH IT!!"
I was at wits' end last night. My job requires professionalism and efficiency. When I reached my breaking point I saw that I wouldn't be able to complete my job the way it needs to be done. I shouldn't pass forward any upset emotion or anger from the previous caller, but I was to the point that I knew I would. So I logged out, clocked out, and walked to my car. My emotions were getting the best of me, but I wouldn't let them get the best of me while talking to somebody else.
Last night, I was reminded just how passionate I can be, how full of emotion I can be. These emotions make me human and remind me that I'm alive. At the same time, these emotions can get me to run my ship aground. Or bury my head in a sack of flour in the hold. Or run around like a chicken that is missing it's head. The situation is going to require more and more than I maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel, even in the face of a monstrous wave.
My anchor is Christ. He made it through when other, lesser men would have given in. Christ being my anchor, and a firm and true anchor He is, I don't want a small rope to attach Him to me. In fact, I want a chain. I want a heavy, tempered stainless steel chain. Nothing wimpy or sissy about it. And I like to think of the links in the chain as being people and spiritual experiences in my life.
As I fought through the storm of emotion that followed me last night, my wife was my first link. Closest to me and strong. She is the love of my life. I love her more every day. She's my biggest fan and my best friend.