Anger is Not a Safe Traveling Companion
Anger is one letter short of danger, a wise person observed. Rarely has anger ever taken me where I wanted to go. Anger can put my brain on hold; narrow my field to vision to the annoyance at hand, and alas, opens my mouth.
Mercifully, God is stronger than my temper, and reruns a tape of an early temper tantrum that upset me.
Oh, I remember it very well – although I can’t remember what precipitated it. More than likely, I wasn’t getting my way. Or, maybe something bad had happened to me. I don’t remember. But I remember the anger! The intensity with which I threw my beloved doll against the headboard of my bed is still an ugly memory of the fury that haunts me.
I was a kid, but I knew something inside of me was capable of bad stuff – I just didn’t have the words to describe what I felt – but I scared myself.
The impulse to smash something because I am mad – or crush someone with words, still can flash upon my heart, startling me with its insane intensity. It seems so reasonable in the moment it erupts.
No fit of temper I gave into ever got a reasonable outcome.
Temper tantrums burn up opportunities to solve the problems that upset us.
Coping with the aftermath – seeing the harm my angry outbursts cost – Well, what was I thinking? I am exhausted; I may have hurt another’s feelings, and the problems that set me off are staring right back me. Repeating a warning:
Speak in anger, Ambrose Bierce wrote, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
The golden years bring upsetting problems – I call it losing my charm. Our impairments, loss of friends, and family, and even resources create problems. Losing my temper solves not one of them.
A recurring visual aid , reminding me of the destructive power my temper wields is a memory from our former neighborhood in Dallas: ginormous rubble piles covering lots where old homes had been knocked down. I took some pictures before we left Dallas last year, so I would remember what a collapsed house looks like, and the sadness I always felt when I saw a lovely old – and I don’t mean historic – home, razed. Their memory is an apt illustration for a cautionary proverb, Proverbs 14:1
A wise woman builds her home,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. ~
Or, her mouth . . . Loosing my temper and speaking my mind can pack a bigger punch than a wrecking ball, unfortunately.