Well, the title essentially tells the tale, but ultimately the sun rose and oxygen was breathed.  You live to fight another day, lay your giant head on the pillow and dream of a better world.

No, the sky was not falling, but the mini blinds did.

In a weekend that was filled with equal parts joy and trepidation, I experienced a Sunday night that was par for the course.  As the clock ticked closer to Monday blues, we gathered as a family for dinner and ant-slaying.  Pasta was boiled, sauce was simmering and ants were scurrying.  Just a regular night at Casa de Fulton.  But Papa Bear had already made it known to the world that with Monday came some angst, so he took to fighting-off Sunday.  But he was truly fighting a losing battle, and wrecked nerves and lack of faith collided in a series of misfortunes, capped-off by the destruction of the dining room window blinds when Papa pulled the string in an attempt to pull them up and shut the window.

In a crash, smash, thud, down they went.  And the house went silent.

I thought of picking them up to try to fix it, but instead I sat back down at the table.

Simmering hotter than the sauce.

Gripping my glass of milk, I felt the rage building inside me.  I wanted to throw things and perhaps punch the old speed bag that we used to have in the old Greenwood garage.  I sat there steaming and just felt like a menace.  Thinking that it was the best for everyone concerned, I bolted from the table, grabbed keys and wallet and walked out the door to my car, where I got in, slammed the door and looked at my little kids standing at the front door as they watched me back down the driveway.

Away drove the world’s worst father.

It was to everyone’s benefit that I’d removed myself from the situation, as a quick drive down Pacific Coast Highway to clear the head was in fact a good thing, but I wasn’t quite ready for the statement that greeted me upon my return.

We thought you were never coming back.

Those were Emily’s words.

And there were some tears as I assured her that I was not going anywhere, and that I would always be here for her and Trevor.

She sat nestled in my arms as we watched some Phineas and Ferb, but my mind drifted beyond Perry the Platypus, Major Monogram and the hilarity of Doctor Doofenshmirtz. 

When your thoughts and actions start to bring about negative and scary feelings in the ones you love the most you know that it is time for a change.  I wrote about perspective previously, and of course I’m still struggling as the situation is still fresh and new, but this experience was a shocking slap to the face and a reminder that I have some serious responsibilities here. 

It’s not just about me anymore.

There’s some solid reasoning behind what I’m going through currently, but I haven’t a clue what it might be.  However, there have been a few pangs of excitement in the last 24 hours, as I know that God has walked though these scenarios with me previously.  He knows that I’m conditioned to “run” when these things happen, and as difficult as it’s been to resist fleeing the scene as difficulties arise, I have to tell you that I’ve grown closer to Him as a result and I think I’m a better man for it.  Hopefully a better husband, Dad, brother, friend, worker, boss, dude as well.  Time will only tell.

It’s in these raw, stripped-down moments when, seemingly paralyzed by fear and anxiety, I know that I won’t be presented with more than I can handle.  More importantly, I don’t need to try to handle these situations on my own.  As each and every one of these precarious and daunting clouds of doom and gloom come my way I’m reminded of the personal character-building that comes with it, along with the presence of Our Lord. 

He, after all, is permitting the difficulty to manifest in my life, and He has a purpose for it all.  You can’t have a healthy relationship with Christ without acknowledging His sovereignty in all things – good and bad. 

But the distractions and distortions of life make it next to impossible to embrace the possibilities of a difficult circumstance.  It is hard if not impossible to see God’s hands in all of it without asking the question, “Why?”  And it is certainly permissible to ask that question, but you have to be prepared to accept the answer, because it can be a serious hoot if you’re not prepared for some real humility.

Yes, I’m struggling right now.  No doubt about it.

But God has a purpose here and I just have to look a littler harder to see it clearly.

Lacking the discipline at times to be truly focused, I submit to Him my prayers for mercy and expediency, as I hope to not only survive this set of circumstances, but to thrive.

Amen.

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