Tuesday, February 21, 2006


"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." ~ Helen Keller

I've been under some pretty serious stress lately. And it is a relatively new feeling to me. I'm not saying I have never had stress. I am saying I rarely feel stress.

Up until recently, whenever I have suffered stress, I have rarely known I was suffering. I successfully kept it bottled up, and eventually, it would just go away. Not that I knew I was bottling it up. I didn't. The only times I ever knew I was stressing was after the fact, when I realized at last, "Wow, I must have been under some stress!"

Occasionally, this bottled up stress would bubble up to the surface, and I would blow up at some unsuspecting victim, shouting angrily. This only happened twice, but both times, I was left embarrassed and feeling very sorry I lost my temper. I think the reason that I haven't blown up more often is that the source of the stress, the particular problem that was causing it, would resolve itself.

Probably more often than that, the reason stress left me at last was Divine. I believe God intervenes in times of extreme stress. One of my favorite quotes about God is this:

"God may not always be on time, but He is never late."

Meaning He lets us try to muddle through with our petty problems almost to the point of sheer desperation, at which point we often cry out to Him for assistance. And if we don't, He, being a loving God, intervenes anyway. It is comforting to know that God watches over us, even when we don't rely on Him.

I know I need to rely on God all the time, not just when I experience stress. But I, like most humans, tend to ignore Him until I need Him.

I wonder if others deal with stress that way? I've never heard of someone being under stress and not knowing.

My ex-wife claimed she was under stress almost continually. I don't believe she was, usually. But she got a lot of sympathy from people who were only marginally acquainted with us. Friends and family that knew her better were used to her. She enjoyed the attention she got from sharing her stress with everyone she talked to.

Anyway, I am grateful for the prayers and good thoughts from the two people I have shared this with. It is a comfort.

And it appears now, that the problem is, at least temporarily, over. It was, as most stress sources are, related to money, or more accurately, lack of money. And it was my own fault, too. It will come up again. I had yesterday off from work, and I don't get paid holiday pay. And my son's birthday is coming up. And of course, it is coming up on the weekend on which I will get the paycheck that's short one day.

Oh well. This too, will pass.

A Boss I had once, who was a Viet Nam veteran, always had this to say when an employee complained about stress on the job:

"You call that stress? Stress is finding yourself alone in a foxhole in the middle of the night, surrounded by VC, and you only have one clip left."

So, I guess it's all a matter of perspective, after all, isn't it?


Timothy said...

Glad to hear the problem is dwindling away. I think most of our stress in our world revolves around money. There never seems to be enough, even when we have one dollar more. I was going through the tax stress yesterday, trying to get every thing in order to take to the accountant. Yes, I felt a bit of stress as well. I kept laughing to myself, wondering if there could not be a more secular endeavor, when friend reminded me that rendering to Caesar was biblical as well. That helped on the perspective for me. But I love the foxhole analogy. Comparitively speaking, we have it easy here in the states.

Dan Trabue said...

You know, don't you, that you're quoting a well-known socialist in Helen Keller (as well as a wonderfully wise woman)?

In response to a newspaper (the Eagle) she wrote:

"Oh, ridiculous Brooklyn Eagle! What an ungallant bird it is! Socially blind and deaf, it defends an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much of the physical blindness and deafness which we are trying to prevent. The Eagle is willing to help us prevent misery provided, always provided, that we do not attack the industrial tyranny which supports it and stops its ears and clouds its vision. The Eagle and I are at war. I hate the system which it represents, apologizes for and upholds. When it fights back, let it fight fair. Let it attack my ideas and oppose the aims and arguments of Socialism."

Your scary socialist moment of the day, brought to you by Miss Helen Keller.

Mark said...

Dan, "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." - Karl Marx

There. I quoted another one. So what?

Dan Trabue said...

No complaints, here, friend. I'm just sayin'...

Timothy said...

Give me my opiates of the people... give me Christ, let us be like Him... Karl Marx can have his own corner of hell all to himself.

Hell is the opiates of the godless.

Son of Lilith said...

I think that Dan was just playing the irony card Mark. I have to say though, that you do seem to appreciate wisdom when you see it.

Erudite Redneck said...

Religion is one thing; Christ is another.

Religion IS the opiate, or the distraction, of the people. Christ is the savior.

Mark, re; so what? You bash liberals at EVERY TURN. It would seem beneath you to quote one approvingly.

Unless, you know, you're, you know, being, you know, inconsistent or something. :-)

Titus, on what ground do you condemn Karl Marx to hell. I'm just askin' -- was he explicitly anti-Christian? I really do not know. I've got his mangum opus around here somewhere, but I haven't read much of it ...

Erudite Redneck said...

Ah, well, there is this from the "Karl Marx" entry at Wikipedia:

Marx's acceptance of this notion of materialist dialectics which rejected Hegel's idealism was greatly influenced by Ludwig Feuerbach. In The Essence of Christianity, Feuerbach argued that God is really a creation of man and that the qualities people attribute to God are really qualities of humanity. Accordingly, Marx argued that it is the material world that is real and that our ideas of it are consequences, not causes, of the world. Thus, like Hegel and other philosophers, Marx distinguished between appearances and reality. But he did not believe that the material world hides from us the "real" world of the ideal; on the contrary, he thought that historically and socially specific ideologies prevented people from seeing the material conditions of their lives clearly.

Not much to go on. I sure wouldn't assume he -- or anyone else, really -- has a "corner of hell." Assumes too much power on the part of the man. Assumes too little power on the part of God.

Mark said...

Truthfully, I was not aware Helen Keller was socialist. But it makes no difference. If I think a quote fits the subject, I will use it. I have used Adolph Hitler, and others I don't necessarily agree with in the quotes I use. I have been considering using quotes from Bertrand Russel, but haven't yet. He was one of the worlds most famous athiest.

Mark said...

And you accuse me of going off-topic.....

ER, I said I was grateful to you. Did you catch that?

Erudite Redneck said...

??I missed it, and I can't find it. But that's OK.

Mark said...

It's right there in the post, ER...."Anyway, I am grateful for the prayers and good thoughts from the two people I have shared this with. It is a comfort."

I only told two people what I was going through. You were one of them.

tugboatcapn said...

I'm not at all surprized that Helen Keller was a socialist...

She was deaf and blind, after all...

Okay, that was in bad taste.

Lord, I apologize for the Helen Keller remark, and be with all of the starving Pigmies down there in New Guinney...

Daffy76 said...

Ah, my brother, my idiot. That really was tasteless that time. (Idiot is a term of endearment between the two of us. Don't get too excited.)

Mark, lately I've been a little concerned about you. You sound kind of lonely. Maybe you should be getting out more. I know that's none of my business, but like I said, I'm concerned.

If I knew a good lady in your neck of the woods, I'd introduce you in a heartbeat.

Timothy said...

Assumptions made concerning the Marx in hell bit... As far as I know, he never professed Christ. And while many communist try to say Christianity is a form of it, as long as it is a godless system, it has nothing to do with Christ.

BTW, check out my site, you will discover an old friend. :)

Erudite Redneck said...

Oh, Mark. I'm a doofus. I see now. :-)