One Coveted American Pastime that Might Be Eating Your Soul

On Birthday #50 I asked a painful question.

How did I get so grumpy? I wasn’t born grumpy. I wasn’t grumpy as a kid.

Is it something that automatically happens to old men? Sure seems like there’s a lot of us.

I decided to take an inventory of all the activities and attitudes that had changed over the last 20 years. Maybe this was my fault? In my personal audit I noticed 2 things that were all but absent in my younger years.

First, fat. So I made a lifestyle change, bought a fitness watch, lost some weight, slept better, and got a bit less grumpy. But losing weight’s a walk in the park compared to the other thing I noticed – a bad habit that seems to get worse as I get older.

It’s something I didn’t do in my 30’s. I didn’t need it. I definitely didn’t do it when I was a kid; life was too fun to waste time on crap like this.

Now, I can’t seem to go five minutes without paying homage. It makes me feel good, and feeds an emptiness that’s been growing since I became a Christian, oddly enough.

In the early 1990’s I entered the world of Evangelical Christianity and began attending a small church in Texarkana, Arkansas. I was a mess at the time and needed a place to belong, a place where I felt valued. This was it.

I remember sitting in the back row during Sunday morning services, looking at the small gathering of fellow congregants, thinking to myself how good and holy these people were.

They were fighting the good fight, saying “no!” to the evils of the world and “yes!!” to God.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but in this moment, convinced that there was a significant number of people in the world that I saw as “good” convinced me that my world was “good.”

It was one of the most peaceful chapters of my life. Read more