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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)

By Paul Potenza



I am a former U.S. Marine.

I have seen stuff that most people don't get. You have to have a "receive" button to understand things like that. Most people don't pack the necessary gear. Most people have never held a man that they have shot in the neck and watched him die.

Before you dismiss what I say, I want you to know that I'm a pretty zany and fun-oriented guy. In fact, I'm the guy who usually amuses you in these Faithwriters contests with witty discourse. But I think that you should know that I have a dark side.

That dark side can be accessed by bringing up VietNam and Beirut and Greneda and Honduras and El Salvadore and Iran and Iraq. Because I lived there.

God help me it was horrible.

I am now an old man who mows the church lawn.

I don't kill anything anymore. My wife laughs at me because I will actually trap the bugs that somehow get into my house and then set them free. "Big tough Marine" she'll snicker, "too scared to kill a bug." and although I love her deeply, I realize that she isn't on "receive" and I can't put her there.

But the anger is there.

I'm frustrated that most people don't even have a receive button. They can't communicate because all they do is send.

You know, God was frustrated by that too. He said something like "This peoples hearts have grown calloused. They can neither see with their eyes or hear with their ears. Otherwise, I would turn and heal them."

So I'm angry. I'm angry with you for not seeing and hearing, and I'm angry with me for not trying hard enough.

What's it going to take?

In this country we have a lot of men and women who are broken in body and mind. I am not just talking about our current war although that is a good place to start...However...

In every town that you can name there are countless people who are alone and scared. They walk the streets that you live on and they look into your windows at Christmas time and they hear the laughter and they smell the food and they know that they are not welcome. I know because I was one of them.

I'll tell you something that I used to tell my radio man in the heat of combat when I'd get mad.


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This article has been read 525 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/09/07
So I'm angry. I'm angry with you for not seeing and hearing, and I'm angry with me for not trying hard enough.

This was a powerful sentence in a powerful piece. Thank you for being so open with us, and willing to speak of your own anger unapologetically.
Dianne Janak08/10/07
Today I will desperately work at keeping my button on receive. Not having had your experience, I still hear you and I get it. God bless you brother. This needed to be written, and we needed to hear it.
Lynda Schultz 08/10/07
My experience is very different from yours, but I think I can apply your message to issues that are within my experience. All the things God would do if we were listening and looking. Thank you for writing from your heart.
Marilyn Schnepp 08/12/07
Your dark side is as good as your funny side - it's always truthful, I always learn something, You Tell It Like It Is, and you keep me glued to the page....which isn't easy to do with my severe attention span disorder. Thanks for another piece that comes straight from the hip - and straight to my heart. Kudos!
Joanne Sher 08/17/07
Congratulations, Paul. Your entry has placed 6th in Level 2. The Lists for the Top 15 in each Level and the Top 40 overall is available in the Weekly Results and Highest Rankings forum of our Faithwriters Message Boards.
Dee Yoder 08/21/07
Good writing for this topic. Your words flow and are smooth and descriptive. Never having had the experiences you have, I can't fully understand, but having been widowed with a young son, I know the feeling of being angry that others appear blind to the painful and terrible side of life. Never can get those rose colored glasses to fit any more! Can't even find them. Thanks for making me think.