frustrated and grumpy and tired and angry and nervous and hectic… Perfection

Step Back.

That’s the advice I would give myself right now. Step back, and take a look. Relax out of the scrunched up and squinting perspective, peering furiously close, flattened against the glass. Seeing your immediate world, through a microscopic lens, in it’s finest detail, noticing the dust and grime and , could-be-better-ness, you’re losing the big picture…

Give yourself some space, man.



A week like this don’t come along too often. Enjoy it: Two years sobriety, BANG! A speech delivered and well received at the Rotary Club. New focus and intensity in our kitchen, making customers happy with the promptness. Equipment fixed. Nice messages from old friends. Support, Love. Money enough to indulge for my wife’s birthday. Dinner date set for Sunday. Work and work and work, but it’s moving along, moving forward. Step back Man… See this miracle, right here right now.

Ha! We are so fickle and quick to complain here in Kansas. We’ve all heard it before. One day we all complain it’s too hot. The next, we’re freezing, and wanting a ‘normal’ season for once… Yeah, season’s aren’t normal here. Seasons of my life aren’t normal either.

It’s feast time, and I question if I should be enjoying it. Famine and lack and struggle ruled the day, long enough, I forgot how to smile and relax some… I had more time back then, bothered me with everyone’s busy-ness. Now I am too… just with dream-jobs and stuff. Perfect moments, one after the other. BUT, perfect doesn’t mean easy. It doesn’t mean comfortable or effortless. Perfect moments seem too hard sometimes to notice the gifts.

Looking into the eyes of a man, and thanking him for his impact on my life. I meant it Pastor Tim, you have encouraged the changes in me, that dozens of people complimented this week. You Sir, show me how the walk looks and show me how it smiles and plays. You show me it’s concern too, it’s selflessness, even it’s worry sometimes, it’s humanness. This great week, is in part due to one sentence you said, on a Wednesday night bible study. One sentence can do it sometimes. ‘You can do this.’ is what I remember about it…

Wade, you scoundrel! You suckered me into growing again! What is your deal man! You just get a kick out of watching people squirm, or what! You only get to ask people to stretch so much, and get them (me) to do it, because you’re so danged committed yourself. Do you know that? You sir, walk your talk. You show up. You engage and lead by example. I do want to be YOU when I grow up. I gave a speech in front of community leaders this week, just like I owned the place. I did that because you asked me to, and I didn’t want to let you down. Your level raises mine. I worked and practiced and knew I’d still be nervous, BUT I was going through with the thing, for you. Thanks, it was really for me.

Facebook was full of love this week. People! You People! You Women mostly, (a’hem… guys?!?!) supported and encouraged and lifted me up when I made a post about sobriety. You clicked like, You wrote messages, You texted me too. Wow. Sobriety is a lonely place sometimes. The world doesn’t seem to have room for us, where everyone else is. It can feel like a lonely cage while everyone else parties and plays around you. Not this week. I was blessed and drenched with love from all around. Old friends, who knew that old me, encouraging the freshness they read about here, mentioning how it encourages them. Thank God it does πŸ™‚

My mother is a writer πŸ™‚ I see where I get it. She posted one of the nicest things I’ve read, right on my own FB page. I wanted to read more. I wanted more of her sentences, just to really see her from a new perspective. She’s beautiful. So were those words. πŸ™‚

Chad stepped up this week. He’s opening his own eyes. It is a tough process. We are tough guys. Working with me ain’t easy. Some of you know that. Working with him ain’t either, Lindsay knows that too. So here we are, two flawed men, showing up every day and working in this restaurant. Together this week, through the fire and heat, we forged a new beginning. A hardened and more precise instrument. A tool we can use together, a kitchen focused on the customer. Beauty in Business. Thanks, Man.

I stood on Main Street again this week, holding a package that felt so important and dear and miraculous. I did that once before. I remember it well. I remember wondering who was watching me, as I walked into the jewelry store, a year and a half ago. I remember, being nervous and not knowing anything about what I was buying. I remember being broke, and wishing I could buy up all the best for my lady, but I couldn’t. I know that I asked about the one ring she clicked ‘like’ on their facebook page. They showed it to me. It’s an ‘estate’ ring. Like me, it’s not pristine and brand new. It’s got a history. In fact, it even has a big blemish right in the middle, that I never noticed until after we had it home. Funny, huh. When I think about that ring, I think about how Perfect my wife is. She loves it, just like she loves me, with all my big obvious blemishes right in the middle. I know it’s a divine gift that we’re together.

Mine is from the estate collection too. It’s even more fitting. Just a thin circle of silver, they didn’t want to sell me. It was $10 and crusty with tarnish. That’s what I wear. It’s perfect for me too. It shows lots of nicks and scratches and turns black sometimes too. Unlike a lot of guy’s rings nowadays though, it’s pure. It’s just one thing. It’s not a collection of metals, that could have been a toaster instead. It’s Sterling.

These things were bought on Main Street, in my hometown. And this week I stood again, outside a downtown building, and held a package, that I knew was precious. Just paper and ink and some purple canvas. Heavy and expensive. Too much too pay, when Amazon is out there. But who cares. It’s hometown. It’s a BIBLE. The cost is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with it’s value, it’s possibility, the impact it can make. A birthday gift for my wife, her own. Although I do love leaning in together and reading from the same page, on Sunday mornings, she does deserve to have one of her own.

Now, step back. Take a look. Realize this moment. A Bible for my Wife, for her Birthday. A week of love and accomplishment and hard work paying off.

Oh, did I mention that I need this message to myself, because I’ve been frustrated and grumpy and tired and angry and nervous and hectic all week long too πŸ™‚ Yeah. That’s what this perfect week felt like, from the inside.

It’s not about these little black characters on this screen. It’s not about the pictures I showed in my presentation. It’s not about text on my phone that people sent. It’s not about plates of food that move quicker now. It’s not about metal in that ring, the chip in that diamond, the pressed fibers and dark ink that make up that Bible. It’s not even about the buildings downtown, or dinner we’ll have together on Sunday. None of that crap matters.

That’s the stuff of life. It’s everywhere. It’s the tangible, that has nothing do with truth. These things are holograms. They don’t exist. The Perfectness of this week existed between and beyond and throughout all these tiny moments. They were the spark in engaged eyes. They were the electricity felt while reading about love and encouragement. They were the fleeting and real moments of heaven and the kingdom. They can’t be bought or planned or predicted. They were gone as quick as they were noticed.

I am glad I took time right here, to capture them loosely, with my dim memory. In practice it’s hell, it’s the world’s obstacle course. The high, the kingdom, the bliss shows up, when I’m sweating the hardest through it. Not when I’m lounging and drunk and going nowhere…

Happy Birthday Baby, you give me a life I want to live well for πŸ™‚

Thanks be to God.


Aaron Nichols

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18


8 thoughts on “frustrated and grumpy and tired and angry and nervous and hectic… Perfection

  1. Dear Aaron–Periodically I go to the words of Eugene H. Peterson for his paraphrase of 02Corrinithians reading 16-18.,”So we are not giving up. How could we. Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
    Grandson, you are special!! Our best birthday wishes to Lindsay!!!

  2. Thank you for your words this week and last. I appreciate them very much. I desire to grow closer God and wonder if I need to quit alcohol completely. My life is definitely not filled with the crazy stuff of my youth and I’ve been able to slow down, but I wonder if it is good enough. Will I have to quit completely to get to where I want to be? What would that feel like? Thank you for expressing your thoughts, joys, and fears. It is good to know I’m not alone in some things I think about. πŸ™‚ PTL

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