A lesson in anger

Just when life seems to be getting overwhelmingly hectic, God seems to step in and whisk me away. Last week I was whisked away to a mountain bike youth camp. And boy was that just what I needed. Life got real simple. Get up. Eat. Ride. Eat. Ride. Eat. Sleep. There was a lot of praying and laughing and Bible studying thrown in for good measure too. It is amazing what simplifying your life can do for your soul. I made some quiet time for God every morning. Every night we would have Bible Study, and I was amazed by how thoughtful some of the kids were. They made me think with their thoughts and questions, and they helped me see how incredible God is to me. I have been given some incredible opportunities to witness God at work. I have met deeply spiritual people and have had wonderful teachers. And I have just been incredibly blessed. Sometimes I am just floored by it all.

While I am always thankful for all these blessings, God has also taught me some pretty powerful lessons. I think I had that down time last week to prepare for a major lesson this week. And that lesson had to do with anger. Early Monday morning, my mom called. I knew as soon as the phone rang, something was not right. John answered the phone, and I knew it was either my mom or my dad calling to let me know that something was wrong with one of them. It turned out that my dad had two heart attacks. Fortunately, they went to the hospital before the heart built up a major attack and caused a lot of damage so he is doing okay and recovering from surgery to remove 2 of 3 blockages.

The first thing I thought about was something I read in a book by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. She wrote that anger manifests itself in physical conditions of the heart. Now if you know my dad, you would wonder how on earth does this relate to his situation. He is a fairly laid-back guy. My mom likes to call him a puttser. In fact when I was a teenager, he irritated me to no end because he would laugh at me when I got angry. He never got angry with me that I can remember.

This really got me to think about the anger that I have that I don’t even realize most of the time. On the surface, I am a pretty peaceful and positive person. But I realized that just like my dad, and just about every one else in this country, I let a lot of anger build up underneath the surface. Let’s face it; there is a lot to be angry about. Besides the big things (politics, war, economy, family issues), there are countless little things that happen all the time.

The other day I was riding my bike, and witnessed a man cussing out another man in a car (You f****** a**hole….over and over again). This was happening in the cussing man’s driveway. I have not witnessed this type of anger in a long time, and it really bothered me. My first instinct was to get out of dodge. I rode swiftly passed the house. But I crossed the bridge over the creek, and I found myself feeling the need to do something to help. I stood on the other side of the creek out of view, but not out of earshot. And I just breathed for those men. I don’t know why, and it didn’t make the man stop yelling. But I just felt like I needed to bring some peace to the situation.

So I realized this is what we often do to the anger we allow to build up in ourselves. We are afraid of it, so we run away. Or we let it build up and explode. Sometimes we need to recognize our anger, identify it, “Oh, I know you.” And then breathe some peace into it before it builds up in us or explodes. When you are frustrated when someone is being rude or not helping out; when someone yells at you for driving the way you want to drive; when you feel cheated out of something you feel you deserve; or when someone else has a different view than you; take time to recognize the anger that you hold. Find someway to deal with that anger in a productive way. Sometimes we may need to just yell. But yelling at another person only transfers the anger to them, and that is not productive or peaceful.

The saddest thing about the cussing man was the fact that a teenage boy stood in the yard witnessing the whole scene. He passively tossed a ball up and down without showing any emotional response to what was going on. I could not help but think this child is learning how to deal with his anger. What lesson has he learned?

Today, on my ride up Route 45, there was a green bean every 25 yards or so. (They are harvesting them here and a processing plant is about 30 miles west of our house on route 45. Big trucks that don’t give an inch of road to a little cyclist carry these beans to the processing plant very quickly.) Every time I saw a green bean, I would breathe peace. You have to make peace. Peace is not something that seeks us out. We have to consciously seek it out. Find something that will remind you to breathe peace regularly. Maybe every time you see a butterfly or pretty flower, you could take time to breathe in the simple peace that God wants us all to have.


“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” –Romans 12:21

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” –Ephesians 4:31-32

“Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” -Matthew 5:9


“You have many different natures. Light and dark. Kind and mean. Inconsistent and predictable. You’ll never be perfect. But you can be better than you are now. For your own sake, try.” –Nancy Wood (in Dancing Moons)


Lord, help me identify the anger in my life. Help me remove the anger I have allowed to build up. Help me release it. It spoils my soul and corrupts my spirit. Help me to put more peace and love into the world than anger. Help me make peace. I want to be your peacemaker! AMEN


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