March 14, 2023

Curmudgeon by Sharon Heagy


    Curmudgeon. What a great word. Usually it refers to a cranky pants grumpy old man. There are a few grouchy females who also fit the bill but I don’t care for the term which describes the female counterpart and it doesn’t begin with the letter ‘c’. So I will call them ‘curmudgeonettes’ (much to my spell checker’s dismay).  

            These are the crusty folks who make great fodder for fascinating characters in books and movies. They harrumph and grouse and grumble about everything and everyone. Being argumentative fuels their fire and their stubborn nature will defend a wrong point of view, like swearing the sun comes up in the west. Those of the curmudgeon persuasion cause others to be infuriated and they can add stress to any situation, it is their……gift. Yet, I have an affinity for curmudgeonly folks.

            My experience has been that these individuals can be some of the most interesting, honest and loyal human beings once you crack holes in their tough crust. They are like the earth, seven layers thick, each with its own distinct characteristics. It takes time and effort to get to the gooey centre but it’s well worth the investment. Often the layers hide insecurities and brokenness. Each hurt and wound growing another layer of protection over the soft centre and with it a little less trust, and a little more distance between them and others. Because the curmudgeon can be offensive, many of us tend to avoid them. It reminds me of Nathanael’s declaration, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” A curmudgeon? Can anything good be found in them?  We sometimes forget they are children of God created in His image and in need of a Saviour, same as us.

But God loves the broken. He has a heart for the curmudgeon. He is restoration and redemption and He looks below the crusty layers, below the hurt, right into the heart. Just like He did in Ezekiel, God can “remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”

And He can use us to be instruments in the surgery and life-giving I.V. lines of His love, grace and mercy.

            This is not only true for the people we may meet but also applies to those we write about. When we have curmudgeonly characters in our stories, we need not paint too harsh a picture but can, and perhaps must, allow the redemptive process to be at work in their lives. Our most cantankerous readers need to know there is hope for the curmudgeon and the curmudgeonette. Our prose can be used by God to awaken them to the truth that tells them they don’t have to be stuck beneath the weight of sorrows but can break free into the marvelous freeing light of relationship with God. 

As frustrating as they can be, try to be kind to the curmudgeons in your life, whether in person or as characters in your work. We may be just the person who God can use to make a fissure in a fellow human being to help His light penetrate a heart.


  1. Thank you, dear Sharon, for pointing out the different layers people have. I agree there's more to a person than the surface we can see. The following words brought one of the kindest people I know to mind: "My experience has been that these individuals can be some of the most interesting, honest and loyal human beings once you crack holes in their tough crust."
    I'm glad God looks beneath the packaging and sees the gift within.

    1. Anonymous7:09 am GMT-7

      Thanks, Wendy, for your thoughtful encouraging comments. Glad your personal kind ‘curmudgeon’ came to mind. We are all multi layered, aren’t we. Another evidence of our amazing Creator.

  2. Thank you Sharon for this insightful post. As I was reading, I remembered an elementary student in our school who came to us as a "toughie". His mother was in prison, and we didn't know what all was in his background to make him so calloused. But as we gave him love and support, his toughness melted away and he became as soft as a plush, cuddly teddy bear. What love can do! How God looks beneath our (and other's) packaging to see the potential inside!

    1. Thanks so much for your wonderful comments, Sandi. Love your story of God’s love melting that young fellow’s heart. It’s terrific that you and your colleagues gave him a chance. Truly awesome.

  3. Thanks for this interesting and fun take on the letter "C'!

  4. Thanks, Tracy! Blessings on your day


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