Fred’s Top 10 Things that Upset Me During the Holidays – Part I
Ok, so this will hopefully be an annual posting. And then again, hopefully it won’t. It would be awesome to have the world read this and change, but, alas, we all know that won’t happen.
A lot of you know that I work in retail. In retail, this is the time of the year where almost all businesses make their money. It is a time where retailers increase their greed and play off of the holiday cheer of everyone else. During this time of year, you can talk to almost any person that works in retail and many will give you some colorful language with regard to how they feel or the people they have to deal with.
That in mind, I wanted to give you my top 10 things that upset me during the holidays. The first five today, the next five next week.
10) Groups of people who feel that a stairway is a one way road.
Today I was walking down a stairway at one of my stores on my way to the parking garage. I get one step down and there are three people coming up, all standing side by side so anyone going down the steps had to wait until they went by to get past them.
This one really ticks me off. I seem to feel a little bit of anger when this happens, which is actually more than you think. Sometimes, I just want to stick my foot out and make these people faceplant on the steps above them. So what does the Bible say about this?
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:19 – 21.
9) Retailers who try to take advantage of people.
I was at one of those large electronic retailers. I looked over and saw the salesperson trying to sell a phone to an elderly couple. I listened for a few minutes. The couple said they just needed the phone for calling a few people a few times a month. The salesperson was working at selling this couple, who clearly did not understand what they were talking about, an entire plan of data, texting, and phone calls that cost this couple significantly more than they needed.
Upselling is one thing, but intentionally taking advantage of others is a sin. Back to the Bible we go.
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.– Proverbs 28:6.
8) Businesses that require their team members to work very long hours with little to no support.
This can be something that is an issue at any time of the year and some businesses and organizations are more affected by this than others. But retail is especially known for this, as I have personally experienced over the past few months. Next to God, family is the most important factor in any society. If the family falls apart, commerce and economy are not far behind.
Business owners, understand that your team members have family and that if they don’t get enough time with them, eventually they will be useless to not just their own family, but to you as well.
Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. – Colossians 4:1
7) Trucks. I realize that trucks are always going to be on the roads, but there are many, many more during the holidays. And they, just like me, want to get to their destination as quickly as possible. During this haste, all people tend to lose their hospitality, their love, and their holiday cheer.
Here is what the Bible says about rushing around. Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way! – Proverbs 19:2. Also…There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. – Proverbs 6:16-19.
6) Being alone. No way around it…divorce sucks. Before I was divorced, I remember celebrating Thanksgiving Day with my parents and my now ex’s parents and all of the extended family. Thanksgiving was filled with a minimum of 14 people and lots of laughing, arguing, and eating. This year, my Thanksgiving consisted of working from 9 am until 1pm and then coming home to write a paper for seminary and fry up some oysters and eat them…alone.
Christmas isn’t much better. Years ago, I spent Christmas Eve with my family at church, watching the kids in the Christmas pageant and enjoying the sermon with everyone from my side of the family and her side of the family. Afterward we would go home, put the kids to bed, put all the gifts under the tree, and snuggle for a little while by the fireplace. Christmas morning involved the kids getting up at 7 am, waiting on the steps until my ex got her video camera, and then doing the mad dash downstairs where daddy was waiting to hand out the gifts. After gifts, we ate homemade French toast and would begin the arduous task of helping the kids put their gifts together. This year will be my parents, my kids and I eating dinner at my house and then heading to church for the service. After the service, my parents will drive home and I will take my kids to my ex’s house so they can continue their regular tradition, minus daddy, on Christmas Day. And Christmas Day? I will wake up, most likely write a seminary paper, and then fry up some oysters and eat them, in silence.
It is at this time of year, that I cry in self-pity a lot.
I don’t bring that up to hear a collective “awwwww” from all the readers (although I think I can hear you all doing that right now). I bring this up so that I can elaborate a little further. There is a single Bible verse that comforts me…actually this verse has reach in many other verses throughout the Bible.
“Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will not leave you nor forsake you.’”
The author of Hebrews (I still think it was Apollos, by the way), was quoting Deuteronomy 31:6 and 31:8 and Joshua 1:5.
I am not alone.
I never was.
I never will be.
I may be sitting in my house, physically alone, but as I sit in the silence of my self-pity, God enters. He is there wherever I am (Joshua 1:9) and takes all my worries away and all of my self-pity fades (1 Peter 5:7). Matthew 28:20 promises that God will be with me always, even unto the end of the age and during this time, all things work together for good, for me who has been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
It is during this time that I grow. I still cry, sometimes uncontrollably because of missing what I have lost. But God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7) and as I grow in Him through these tough times alone, I find that my future is becoming clearer and clearer. And this future, a future with Christ as my Savior, takes all my loneliness and sorrow away.
So for those of you who are suffering from loneliness this holiday, please know I am praying for you. I would love for you to either leave me a reply or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I may know how to pray for you. And know you are special in Christ. The loneliness may truly suck, but it does give you the opportunity to spend one on one time with Christ, and THAT in itself is special.
Next week….5 more items that upset me during the holidays.