Be Encouraged 11/8/17

by Angela M. Collier

Last week, while closing the newspaper stand, the bottom of my Air Force jacket became trapped inside the machine. How does that even happen? Slipping out of the coat in awkward fashion, it hung there while I retrieved two quarters to re-open the contraption. Hilarious. About an hour later, life found me in an altercation with three punks.

A rather large entitlement complex propelled one of them to harass an elderly man over a parking space. Escalating crazy behavior towards the old man prompted me to intervene. I couldn’t stand there and watch it any longer. Words were already flying out of my mouth by the time I approached them. Yes, I admit in firing back expletives. The teen who spent a few years living in a ghetto part of the Bay Area re-emerged and it was game on. Outnumbered, I just didn’t care. My spouse reminded me later they could have had a gun. Whatever.

Remember, bullies are often cowards. Our social media world is filled with cowardly people who spew out garbage hiding behind their computer, lap top and cell phone. They can’t bring themselves to make the same statements in person and some lack the courage to use their real name when they rant. Some publicly act out trusting their legal or illegal weapon will assist if needed. (All for the CCW, but I’ve chosen to wait to get mine because I don’t want my son digging a gun out of my purse). Others find security in masses to do and say whatever, yet when alone, it’s another story. Attending San Lorenzo High in the late 80’s toughened me up fast.

Once at SLZ, a girl entered the bathroom and I anticipated a fight,preparing to receive a royal beat down. Yet, in a pleasant tone, she mentioned being recently educated on my network of friends, then turned around and left. Yes, the greatest miracle that year was when God moved some childhood friends- Sonya and Sharon, from a different city and school, to walk the same halls. Years prior, we were neighbors in a much nicer area. Sonya and Sharon were my first friends of a different race. Ignorant and prejudiced souls are sprinkled throughout society, but as kids we put all that nonsense aside. Sonya and I became the best of friends, rode our bikes, ate ice cream, and had a blast. (Kids just want to be kids, they have to be taught to hate) Their parents had also split and lowered income
levels forced them to change schools. Their arrival to San Lorenzo High was a God thing for sure.

Again, columns are not written in attempts to con the reader into believing I have it all together, or am a role model Christian. My faith is the only thing that really matters in this life, but I am a walking, fumbling mess like everyone else. I simply try to be transparent as possible in the muddy, rocky journey of carrying the cross. God has continually proven to be a most personal Savior, compelling me to write regardless of potentially poor sentence structure, grammar; or incorrect use of the ellipsis.

Back to SLZ…what goes around comes around. During lunch this same gal who paid me a visit in the restroom was sitting and relaxing on the hood of a car. Moments later, another student, drove their car in reverse and purposely rammed their vehicle right into her legs
at high speed. I can still see her screaming in pain. Insane. Sonya and Sharon brought a needed level of protection at school, but when the final bell rang I was on my own to walk back across town to my dad’s crappy apartment.

Many young girls experience unspeakable traumatic things. I have been spared a lot of heart aches in life, but not from everything. I remember breaking up with my first and extremely cute boyfriend Jesse Burton. He was a sweetie. I just couldn’t find the words to tell him about what happened on the way home from school one day. It was easier to break up then break down in front of him. The trials and tribulations faced in those vulnerable years placed a fire in my soul, sending me into the military and later climbing up the corporate ladder. We either rise over adversity or drown. Being a housewife and a home school mom, living check to check on my husband’s single income is a choice. Right now I choose my kids. It requires sacrifice and living humbly, but I’ll never regret it. My girlfriends abroad that have also given up careers for kids understand there is bravery in losing your own financial independence. Life is about making tough choices, pushing through, being brave. In light of Veteran’s
Day, there was only one reason my sentimental Air Force jacket stayed in pristine condition for decades. I had it easy. My boots were always polished, uniform pressed and crisp looking. Military life was spent in an air conditioned office, enjoying a break room which had a bar with two cold kegs of beer on tap, a popcorn machine…the list goes on. We worked hard, we played hard. Not every veteran had it so good. The picture of the F-15E
hanging in my home the pilots signed and presented on my last day, is filled with kind written sentiments wishing farewell to an Angie that was happy, hardworking, and fun. The pilots nicknamed me smiley. (Never was afraid of those smile wrinkles) Their words about me, proved I was an over-comer.

You can be too! It is possible to fight and lose, endure all sorts of suffering and loss in this life and still CHOOSE not to be a bitter and nasty human. Cheers to my little brother who still serves in the Army. God has kept him safe thus far, and in honor of his fallen friends who died serving our great country you will never see me take a knee. I will always stand for our flag and place my hand over my heart. To all my brothers and sisters who served and especially those who fought- thank you. God is good! Always!

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