"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Bitterness: having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood, or aloes. 

"But hushed be every thought that springs from out the bitterness of things"

"The question invariably arises, it has before and it will again: Rubin are you bitter?"  And the answer to that I will say: After all that's been said and done---the fact that the most productive years of my life, between the ages of twenty-nine and fifty, have been stolen; the fact that I was deprived of seeing my children grow up-- wouldn't you think I would have a right to be bitter? In fact, it would be very easy to be bitter. But it has never been my nature, or my lot to do things the easy way. If I learned nothing else in my life, I've learned that bitterness only consumes the vessel that contains it. And for me to permit bitterness to control or infect my life in any way whatsoever would allow those who imprisoned me to take even more than twenty-two years they've already taken. Now, that would make me an accomplice to their crime."  

Those were the words Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, professional middleweight boxer from 1961-1966, spoke upon his release from prison in 1988 for a murder he was wrongly convicted of.

It's amazing how a person can spend twenty-two years in prison for a crime they didn't commit and have such a clear perspective and positive attitude once released. Especially when it's common place to see enraged drivers give people the "finger" for a minor inconvenience, or even worse, when a divorce couple is unable to relinquish their hatred or anger for each other. They hold onto their bitterness like "carry-on" luggage; harming themselves, and more importantly, emotionally and mentally harming their children.

Before anyone picks up the proverbial kitchen sink and throws it at me, I'm not referring to the bitterness that is born out of the violent treatment of a ex-spouse or a child, or any treatment that lead to criminal prosecution and or conviction. In those instances it is understandable to embody those types of feelings; even with that being said, many would agree we become free when we decide not to become bitter.

Even in the most average 'he said; she said' divorce, when parties are unwilling to act decent and forgo their anger, there needs to be a separation of their feelings from their obligation and responsibility of raising their children. For healing to take place, and to raise emotionally healthy and stable children, this is paramount. It is the clarion call unto all parents to raise their children in a way that will aid them in becoming caring and productive human beings. And though divorce is tough on everyone involved, as parents, we have a great opportunity to display and educate our children on the fundamentals on how to behave and treat others when we don't necessarily see eye to eye with them.

Educating our children on the skills that are needed for "conflict resolution" is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. Things will rarely go their way and not everyone is going to like them...they need to learn early how to deal with this reality.

Entertaining bitterness will make this process longer than it needs to be, and in most instances, impossible to resolve any conflicts.

We as parents have a golden opportunity to display to our kids the unbelievable power of civility and decorum in situations when relationships are greatly strained. It is also an opportunity (man, opportunity should be the title of this piece) to display the positive effects of taking the high road and not falling in the trap of constantly bad mouthing the other party or parent.

I often tell my children to take the "high road" because there is less traffic.

The bottom-line is it teaches our children to show class no matter the situation. Before any of this can take place we need to stop verbally jabbing our ex-spouse, or girl/boy friend, in front of our children and stop obsessing how we were wronged. It's over. Nothing will ever change what has already happened to you. 

The unfortunate reality is that we are going to be hurt and disappointed many times in our lives by people, and the worst of it is that we will often be the cause of pain and aggravation in other people's lives. Both instances will often involve people we love and trust the most.

We often give it as good as we get it.

It is important to remember that people can hurt us, but we give them the power to ruin us. That's what bitterness does, it keeps us from being the very best we can be. It robs us of our joy and it clouds our outlook on life. It ruins us. The key is to accept our bitter state and anger, trying never to deny that it exists. Ephesians 4:26 states; "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger". In another words; acknowledge it, accept it, let go of it, and move on. You will be a better person for it. Psalms 4:4 says; "Don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it overnight and remain silent". I think that is solid and sound advice.

We must be aware of it without becoming overwhelmed by it. Accept it and move on, nothing will change the past only you have the power to shape the future.

This past weekend I was reminded of how great it can be when two people decide to work with each other instead of against each other; when two people accept their past and move on. As my 1st wife, Tracey, and I watched our son go to his senior prom this past Saturday I realized how great it is that we decided to forge a friendship over the past 18 years, and that our children had a chance to watch our friendship grow and flourish.  

Austin, Noah, & Alex

Audrey & Austin (2010)

Tracey has been a tremendous mother to Logan and Austin over the past 19 years. She has been on the front-line everyday with our boys and the boys and I could never thank her enough for all that she has done. But at the end of the day, Tracey chose to move past any ill feelings she had towards me and do what was right. She forgave. I'm sure there were many times she hated me but she never sabotaged my relationship with our boys. I can never thank her enough for that reality.

Tracey & Reese

Always remember that "bitterness only consumes the vessel that contains it" has very little effect on the person it is targeted towards. That person is most often sleeping very well at night...every night. The truth is that there is so much good out there to experience if we will only free ourselves so we can experience it. Job 21:25 states; "Another man dies in bitterness of soul, never have enjoying anything good." 

Mom, Logan, & Dad

Trust me when I say; "relinquish your bitterness and start to enjoy your life". There is no sense to live out a "life sentence" for yourself that you created. You will be thankful that you made such a powerful decision to let go of all the bitterness that renders you powerless...your kids will be thankful too. I know that I am and I'm pretty sure Rubin "Hurricane" Carter is also.

sbb 22.5.10  


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