Count it All What?

The morose lad leaned against the doorway to the kitchen.  Arms folded across his chest defiantly, he delivered his message to anyone who would listen.

“Apparently, we can’t stay for dessert.”

With that, he turned and stalked out of the room.  

We tried not to.  We didn’t want to embarrass the boy.  Still, it was pretty funny.  No.  More like hilarious.  To us anyway.  The laughter started quietly and swelled from there.  I’m sure he heard us.  It didn’t make him any happier.

Dessert is an important event at Grandma’s house.  It would be a sore trial for him to miss it.

Learning to live with disappointment is a hard lesson for a nine-year-old.

Count it all joy, my brothers…

A friend of mine complained publicly the other day.  She was playing a game of Scrabble and the word she wanted to play was disallowed.  As it happens, sull is not a real word.  Even though her mother had used it all her life.

“Don’t get all sulled up, just because you can’t go out and play!”  

It’s a colloquialism meaning to be sullen, or to pout.  Still—it’s not in the dictionary as a word one can play in a game of Scrabble.

I wonder if I could say my friend was all sulled up?  She did have those letters in her hand and she certainly wanted to be able to play that word.

Learning to live with disappointment is a hard lesson for a twenty-nine-year-old.  Or a forty-nine-year-old.  Or whatever.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials…

I can’t begin to enumerate the times I have been disappointed in life.  Few of us could.  Again and again, we set our sights on a goal, only to find that we will not be able to attain it.

The goals may be insignificant; they may be vital. From daily to-do lists to potentially life-altering events, we meet with unexpected barriers—obstacles which seem impossible to overcome.

In fact, they may be impossible to overcome.  We may have to modify our expectations.  We may have to find a Plan B.  

Or we could just get all sulled up and pout.

“Can I go to Chinbaby-215867_1280a on your lip?”

The red-headed lady who raised me had a way with words.  This particular phrase was intended to make the pouter pull in their lower lip and smile, a goal it sometimes achieved.  Just not usually with me.

I liked to pout.  I could sit and mope for hours when disappointed.

It’s not something to brag about.

I want to believe I have grown more mature as the years have passed, but the Lovely Lady, that other red-headed lady in my life, could obliterate that fantasy for us.  She has seen me in mid-pout.  Oh, the lip doesn’t come out any longer.  The tears aren’t nearly as close to the surface.

That doesn’t mean I don’t wallow in the disappointment.  I do.

But I am, little by little, coming to the understanding that the trials I face—and overcome—make me a better person.  It’s true for all of us.

…for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Standing, or lying, in the same place, agonizing over the pain and emptiness we feel when we don’t achieve some lofty—or not so lofty—goal, gets us nowhere.  We’re still standing in the same place.

It’s time to move on.  Past the unhappiness.  Past the frustration.  Past the regrets.

The goal hasn’t changed.  We’re still on the journey.

Are we going to sit here all sulled up?  Or are we moving on ahead in joy, steadfast and persevering?

I’m tucking my lip away and heading on.

You coming with?





Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.
(Ephesians 6:10 ~ ESV)


It is when we are at our darkest hour, when we can see no evidence that God loves us, or that He is even there to listen to our prayers, much less answer them—and yet, we still obey.
It is then that the devil is reminded that his cause is lost.
(Tom King ~ American writer/teacher)





© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

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