A private rant made public from 1 am to 2 am in the morning. From my dark heart in desperate need of light to yours.
I just flushed a span of dental floss. At one point I had three boxes of different types of cereal open on top of my refrigerator. And a few days ago I threw out an entire box of beard hair from the last, glorious man beard I was able to grow at Sea World. I had kept it in a box in my locker for the better part of one year. It stood as a memorial to the captivity work had become during the past few years. Although Sea World had approved beards, my ultra controlling boss had decided that beards weren’t right for animal trainers. We could paint them on as pirates in the show, but growing a real one was, well, a pet peeve of hers and after all she was the boss so there I was. Lose my job by standing up for bearded men everywhere, or slay my manly whiskers along with any sense of masculinity and pride I had left in this world. Not trying to be dramatic or anything. Just saying.
So now that you are either thoroughly grossed out or completely intrigued, I bet you are wondering what 8 inches of Flushed Floss, Three cereal boxes and a box of ancient facial hair have to do with anything. Simple. They were all trophies of my ongoing rebellion against authority in my life.
My mom stood as the great authoritarian in my life for a very long time. “Big brother” had nothing on my mom. She could smell it if my brother and I had done something wrong. When I was a kid, she wouldn’t let us buy another box of cereal until the one we were eating was all gone. Do you know how long it takes a little kid to get through a box of Lucky Charms when all he’s really interested in is the Marshmallows? If she relented and bought a new box, we were not allowed to open it until the old box was laying at the bottom of the trash can. I always considered this to be some form of punishment my mother contrived in order to further complicate my childhood. So when I got my first apartment I went out and bought three boxes of cereal opened them all and intermittently ate whichever one I wanted. I sure showed her.
Another story I remembered my mother telling me was that my uncle’s toilet had backed up, so he called a plumber. The plumber knew that my uncle was a doctor of some sort, but when he found the problem in the line, he assumed my uncle was dentist. It appeared that the thing plugging the line was a large mass of dental floss. This is the story my mother related to me when she told me to throw my floss away and not to flush it. So what did I do when I grew up? You guessed it. I flushed floss flagrantly and frequently. I did it, because I could.
Now on to the year old beard clippings. I kept them as a sort of memorial to my right to choose. That choice was taken away time and time again at Sea World and it wasn’t always because it was the right thing. More often than not it seemed like a bit of a power trip to keep the underlings in remembrance of their ranking in the grand scheme of things. Honestly, it didn’t matter if I agreed with the rules or not or if they were wrong or right. A woman in authority had told me what she needed me to do. And I did it…begrudgingly. As long as that box sat in my locker it fed the flame of my rebellion and anger towards the woman in authority over me.
As I was cleaning up my room the other night and throwing things away, I came across my beard in a box. I held onto the box for a moment whilst deciding to throw it away or keep it and God whispered the phrase “Trophies of Rebellion” into my mind.
You see over the past few years I have become the person that steers clear of flipping people off in traffic and would never use some of the colorful words that other people use in conversation. I refrain from drinking and if I agree with those authority I follow them wholeheartedly. I would never openly behave out and out rebelliously. But in the secret places of my heart I was mounting a rebellion of little monuments against the voices of authority in my life.
I could almost hear Jesus saying, if you’ll do it to them, you’ll do it to me. If I say something you disagree with, will you gather your forces against me, against my influence? It was then that my eyes were opened to the little things in my life that represented much bigger problems in my heart.
So I made an agreement with God. To honor my mother like the bible calls me to do. To honor those in authority, especially when I think they are full of…stuff. Then a funny thing happened. People began to speak. Real people. Not just voices from the past. Two women. One man. A whole lotta wisdom. Their words were truth and power. They fell like a thousand enemy arrows penetrating the source of my rebellion.
By loosening my allegiance to that age old saying that has led men and woman astray for years, “IT IS MY RIGHT TO…”, I had made room in the trophy case for something better. Where death and decay had survived and been incubated by my own will, light broke forth bringing life to yet another part of my heart. This Christian thing that I do, that we do, is the hardest thing I will ever have the privilege of doing, but never mastering. That statement kills pride along with my will to fight some days. But I love Jesus. And as crazy, moody and downright ridiculous as I am, He loves me. That shows me there is hope for you, too my friend, regardless of your story. Regardless of the trophies of rebellion you have locked away in the darkest reaches of your heart.