Things you learn about yourself

My wife and I live on what would be the perfect set for a horror film—dirt road, no street lights, isolation, and plenty of creepy trees.

We bought my childhood home, and for as long as I can remember, people have been creeped out by the house. Visiting friends would be unable to sleep, kept awake by weird noises and strange feelings.

Meanwhile, I slept like a baby on Ambien. It never fazed me.

But I get it now. I hear the weird clicks of the furnace, the creaking of the settling structure as the temperature changes. I’ve gotten up a few times to check on strange noises from another room, but two recent occurrences stand out more than anything else.

One night, as I drifted off to sleep, I heard the bedroom doorknob twisting. Someone was opening the door, and since Tanya, the only other member of the household, was sound asleep next to me, that posed a potential problem.

Within two seconds, I was out of bed and standing in front of the door with an outstretched arm to block it from opening and a clenched fist to throw at whoever was on the other side. I growled,

“Hey! What are you doing?”

About that time, I heard, “Hunnie. Hunnie. Anthony, what’s going on?” The light flicked on.

There I stood in nothing but boxer-briefs, ready to attack the wind. The door was closed. There was no intruder, just a vinyl bag that had unraveled and rolled off the hamper and onto the floor. My mind had interpreted the sound of a rustling bag as breaking and entering.

Aside from pure adrenaline, I felt embarrassment, but also a sense of pride that I was willing to leap in front of danger to protect my family.

Cut to a few nights ago. Around 3 a.m., Tanya woke me to hear a scratching sound. Mouse? Raccoon? I didn’t know, but it felt near.

We turned on the light and I stared in the direction of the noise. It seemed to be coming from the ceiling, but Tanya thought it might have been coming from behind some boxes in the corner.

I grabbed a stick and hit the boxes to check for a reaction. Nothing. But as I slid them away from the wall, something big and black moved in the corner.

I jumped back onto the bed and screamed like a girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Tanya, seeing that it was only a camera case and not a deadly rat, keeled over with laughter.

Let’s review: I was ready to battle an intruder in my underwear, but recoiled in fear at what I thought was a mouse hiding the corner.

You learn things about yourself under pressure that you would never know otherwise. Fear and adversity free us of our masks.

Sometimes it takes a gun to your head to find out who you really are. This is why some marriages thrive in the honeymoon season and shrivel when life gets real, when bills have to be paid and kids vie for attention.

This is why some people find God on a hospital bed, and some curse Him and die.

Faith is a sunny day until cancer shows up. After all, what kind of loving God allows suffering and disease?

Sunshine is great, but only when the rain comes will we discover our hidden cracks and leaks. I think adversity says a lot more about us than it does about God, or the lack thereof.

Sometimes I hate to admit it, but I need tests in my life, moments that catch me off guard, because no one can fool me like me.

What have you learned from times of adversity? Join the discussion in the comment section below.

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Photo Credit: Scabeater (Creative Commons)

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