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  The Phooey Principle
#9 in a series


You bring your guests home from church and find a very contented dog lying in the corner. Then you discover that the steaks you had sitting out to thaw are gone. (Oh, poor doggy!)

There was the time you and your wife were traveling late at night. You crawled in the back seat to catch a few zzz's while she drove. When you awoke you saw signs indicating the miles to a city you were not supposed to be going toward.

Maybe worse yet, you're a truck driver and your wife is with you. She's asleep in the bunk when you make a quick pit stop. While you're out, she gets awake and feels the urge too. She is sure she has time to run in or at least you will miss her when you come out. She does but doesn't, you don't – until an hour up the road.

Life can be just awful! We can really get bent out of shape! We get sick at the wrong time. Things break, and we break things. People let us down. Friends move away. There's a zillion things that can go wrong and they seem to enjoy coming in bunches.

Some "stuff" we bring upon ourselves, like forgetting that we have water running in the sink. Or backing out of the garage with a car door open. Or locking the keys in the car at the mall. So maybe there's something to be learned there! Possibly it's time to slow down a bit or start thinking instead of just doing! And perhaps we should quit procrastinating so much if the tire went flat at the wrong time but we knew it had a slow leak.

We usually want to blame someone. The closest target is frequently those we love the most. For whatever reason we can be most unmerciful with our family in reacting to these intrusions. Even when we are responsible ourselves we try to shift blame to others.

And I get so tired of people blaming the devil. Sheeech! Listen, stuff happens! Often the devil is not as much in the event as in our response to it. 

There are several reasons why we respond so negatively, even to little stuff. Things that won't make any difference a hundred years from now, or even tomorrow.

First, we take ourselves too seriously. We react as if the future of society hinges on our plans for the next hour. We are proud individuals. We like to be in control. We think we know what's best for us. Plans are made and now God, nature, happenstance, our spouse, the dog nor the devil had better interfere or we're gonna be in a bad mood! Sooombody will pay!

C'mon, let's get real. Most, probably 99.9% of this is not such a big deal. We need to relax a bit and roll with the punches. We often said in Kenya, "If you can't bend you'll break." There are always surprises and disappointments. We need to look at these things, call them what they are, and just say "Phooey!" They happened, we can't change them and it's time to move on.

Sometimes we've got to laugh at the absurdity of it all. It doesn't do a bit of good to get mad.

I've been through some pretty deep waters over the years. The most painful invasions into my life created the opportunity for the best things in my life! If we walk with God when circumstances, people or the devil take things from us, He'll replace them with something better. I know that’s hard to accept but it's true. It's the Romans 8:28-29 thing.

So try it. When you feel your insides starting to rise 'cause things are getting messed up for you, just stop for a moment, look it square in the eyes, and say "phooey." And then laugh at yourself for starting to get all serious about it and go on with your day! I think you'll like it.

* Some of these events happened to me, some to my friends – and others to you.


Born in 1940, Ken Stoltzfus has worked as a pilot, ordained Christian minister, businessman, missionary to Africa and writer. This is #9 in his series "The View From Up Life’s Path", and is one of many short articles that can be found at

© 2010, Ken Stoltzfus,, P.O. Box 228, Kidron, OH 44636 USA. May be printed for personal use and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes without further permission if proper acknowledgment is given.

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