Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Man Named Hank

I'm reading a book, The Life You've Always Wanted, by John Ortberg. So far, I haven't found the directions to that life. I thought they would be listed in numerical order, something like twelve easy steps to the perfect life but it looks like it's going to be one of those deeply-philosophical-soul-searching type books. I'm feeling pretty shallow these days and I was going to quit reading it, but it was all I took on my weekend trip and I have to read to get to sleep so I kept reading. Then I read this description of Hank:
The Man Who Never Changed
Hank, as we'll call him, was a cranky guy. He did not smile easily, and when he did, the smile often had a cruel edge to it, coming at someone's expense. He had a knack for discovering islands of bad news in oceans of happiness. He would always find a cloud where others saw a silver lining.

Hank rarely affirmed anyone. He operated on the assumption that if you compliment someone, it might lead to a swelled head, so he worked to make sure everyone stayed humble. His was a ministry of crainial downsizing.

His native tongue was complaint. He carried judgment and disapproval the way a prisoner carries a ball and chain. Although he went to church his whole life, he was never unshackled.

Hank is one of those miserable people who suck all the joy out of a room, and yet something seemed familiar about him. I had to read it again, and then it hit my downsized cranium that I had a lot in common with Hank. (See the highlighted lines.) I wondered if anyone knew. Shoot, I wondered if everyone knew.

I was faced with a dilemma. Should I toss the book and cleanse my mind of this spotlight on my faults? Keep reading and look for an answer? Hide in the basement? I don't have a basement. Should I try to be positive instead of negative? I don't know how to be positive, all my training is in negative. And yet, I really dislike being around people who are continually whiney and gripey. Is that how people see me? Scary thought.

Change is hard. Maybe it's too late for me. Maybe negative is my niche, an endearing quality that all my friends love. Or maybe they put up with me because they don't know how to get rid of me. Now that's a scary thought. I know people like that too, the ones who can clear a room just by being in it. You know the.... Um... Hello?... Is anyone here?... Sigh.

Until next time, may you have blessings and positive thoughts, whatever that is,
Marti

6 comments:

A Pretty Pastime said...

I may have to pick that book up and give it a read. I agree with you~I can't stand to be around whiny and gripey people who suck all the joy out of a room.

I think you;re just fine ;-)

Katy

Marti said...

Aw thanks Katy.

Karen said...

Oh, gosh Marti, I could have highlighted the same sentences about me. Am I too old to change? No, but I'm too old to change easily. If only they made shock collars for people... think negatively = ZAP. Whine = ZAP. Automatically jump to a negative judgment = ZAP.

I may never need a perm again!! :)

Thanks for an insightful post.

Marti said...

LOL Karen, you nailed it. Not too old to change, just too old to change easily. I love the shock collar idea!

Gayle said...

Wow Marti. I think the moments in life are great when one can realize a personal fault, consider it a while, and take the information to make some changes. I'll be interested to hear how this plays out.

Marti said...

I wish I could say that I have turned over a new leaf, but so far all I realize is that I have a long way to go.