This would be the third time. I wanted to be furious but all I could do was laugh to myself as I tried to muster the anger the situation deserved. I have been praying for God to help me get over the anger issues I carried around for so long. I am sure I have permanent wrinkles across my forehead from years of scowling. This time was a for sure, absolute, positively an appropriate time for me to be steaming mad.
I have sported a goatee for years. On occasion I will just get tired of shaving and beard out a few weeks, but for the most part of the last twenty-five years it has been relatively clean shaven with a stylish moustache and chin beard. My dashing facial hair is now a statesmanlike grey and if it is kept cut neatly, it looks good, at least to me.
I remember when I was in my mid-teens I grew out a moustache. It was a deep brown black color and crossed my upper lip from side to side. The problem was it was young and thin, like me at the time. There is a name for peach fuzz, when a small kid has soft white fur, this wasn’t peach fuzz, it was better. At the time I felt like a stud and walked a bit higher, back flared. My girlfriend liked it too.
Katy and I met and fell for each other really fast. She was cute as a bug’s ear and I got my self-esteem and validation for anyone who cared even the slightest about me. One day she wanted to introduce me to her mother and I was fine with that as long as we didn’t have to stay long.
We strutted into the back door of Katy’s house and there was her mom. Katy came from a broken home but her mom was solid and watched over her pretty well. Looking back now, she probably did not like me influencing her daughter at all. I stepped forward and shook her hand. To get conversation going, Katy brought up my new look, the moustache. “How do you like Tom’s moustache,?” she asked her mom. “Well, that is nice, I guess. It will look better when it he is older,” was her reply. Bam, a torpedo hit to the male ego at sixteen.
I knew from that moment it was not going to work. I was shamed, embarrassed and confused. The relationship with Katy lasted a while longer. Her mom finally got her distracted with the offer of mall hopping and I may have been a bit overly codependent. But that moment there in front of her mom has never left me.
I don’t blame my years of alcohol abuse or drug addiction to the honest comment of a concerned mom. She was right. But the part that I see now was missing was a role model to speak truth into my life. “Hey dude, it’s a bit early for facial hair.” A man or any guy for that matter who cared about me, was available and real with me, who had the authority to speak into my life would have been huge.
Boys do all kinds of things as they work through their stages of puberty and maturity. From boyhood to manhood. The phenomenon today of “extended adolescence” is a humanitarian disaster in so many ways. Young adults are refusing to leave home, get serious, get a job and pay their own way. Bill Bennet said “if the new fifty is 40, then the new 20 is 10.” He is so right. Look around you. He is right, isn’t he?
There is a lot to be said for a young man going into the military. The lessons of discipline, hard work, learning to do hard things when you don’t want to are transforming. I have also noticed that a true soldier opens the door for a lady, takes his hat off when he comes in a building and knows the terms yes sir and yes ma’m. Where does a boy learn these things?
Half of the boys going to bed at night in America are without a father or male role model in their home. If there is no dad to teach them how to be a true man, a gentle, hardworking, honorable, protective, provider for his family, who will? Even some of the boys with men in the house are not getting real mentoring because the men were wounded and don’t have the skills. I know I struggle with that myself.
Thus the anger and why it has taken me years of prayer, talking with my band of brothers and seasoned men I respect. Even with all those life resources it is hard. Take this current issue. My wife has this small dog that she absolutely pampers. It’s a long haired full blood mutt, like the one who kept Dorthy company in the Wizard of Oz. She used to take him to a groomer for a bath, nail clip and hair trim. That was until she found my bear trimmer and its attachments.
The first time she used my beard trimmer for her dog she gave me the innocent puppy eyes and “I’m so sorry.” I gave in but was not happy. The second time I clearly reminded her of how unhappy I was the first time and she assured me she was really sorry this time and it would never happen again. Guess what, it happened again. Only by accident did I discover the random dog hairs inside the razor this time. It is really gross in some ways and to think I use it up close to my face.
So I want to be furious. I feel like she disrespected me in a blatant way knowing I would be furious. But all I can do is laugh. Anger for me has been a real problem. I used to wake up mad, for no real reason, just mad. It kept my family at an arm’s length never knowing if I was going to be grumpy or go off. Today I pray on my knees to never be that guy again. I want to teach my boys to be joyful, honorable, calm.
Life goes by in the blink of an eye. One day you have peach fuzz, the next day it’s a thin black line across your lip, the next it is a scraggly grey beard. What did I do with the time, where did I invest my heart? I don’t want to be remembered as the mad dad, the angry guy, the dog hater. I have decided to contribute the trimmer to my wife as a present and go select a new one. So now I removed the anger, gifted my wife, gifted the mutt and am on a man mission for a trimmer. I’m okay with that.