To Vent or Not to Vent

Yesterday I copied an article about how repressed anger affects women. The article seemed to advocate just letting it out; don’t worry about the casualties. I understand that we need to express our feelings, but there is a right and a wrong way to do that.

How many of us like to be yelled at? When someone is yelling at you, do you listen, or do you tune them out? Do you listen more to the tone of voice, or the words? We all have differences of opinions. We all have times when we get angry. But how do we express it?

I’ll be honest–when I get mad I tend to throw things. Usually I get mad at situations, or at myself. Rarely do I get mad at people. When my husband was in the Coast Guard we were in Yorktown, Virginia for several months while he went to engineman school. He was learning to be a diesel mechanic. I’d like to blame my temper on the fact that I was pregnant, but that’s really only an excuse. I was an angry young woman at the time and very immature. Anyway, I had put two pot pies in the oven for supper. My oven mit had a hole in the tip of the finger and I didn’t notice it. When I pulled them out of the oven my finger touched the bottom of the cookie sheet the pies were on and I immediately dropped the pan. They landed on the floor upside down.

We lived in an efficiency apartment in a motel so there were not a wide variety of targets at which to throw those pies. I picked them up and threw them at the sink. They landed on the wall and part of the window behind the sink, making a big mess for me to clean up. We laugh about it now, but it wasn’t funny [to me] at the time.

I used to yell a lot. When I gave my heart to Jesus and asked Him to take away my temper and replace it with His peace, I calmed down. The Bible has some things to say about anger: 1)Be angry and sin not. 2) It is better to dwell in the corner of a rooftop than in a wide house with a brawling woman. 3) A nagging wife and a dripping faucet on a very rainy day are very much alike. 4) Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. 5) Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. In other words, don’t say something just slipped out. You may not have meant to give voice to the words, but they were already in your heart, and so are at least a partially accurate representation of your true feelings. 6) A soft answer turneth away wrath.

Number six reminds me of another funny anecote. One day, again when my husband was in the Coast Guard, we were stationed in Chincoteague, Virginia. I don’t remember what all happened this one morning, but I was having quite a temper tantrum when my husband got home. I was ranting and raving and he just laid on the couch with his eyes closed and didn’t say a word.  At some point I ran out of steam and I looked at him and said, “Well, say something!” He never opened his eyes but he said in a very calm voice, “What for? You’ve already said it all.” It totally took the wind out of my sails. There was not one word I could say. My mind went completely blank.

Finally, there is a verse in Proverbs that says something like, “A wise person bridles his tongue.” It’s okay to be angry, but choose your battles carefully; think before you speak; and don’t get into a discussion about the situation until you have considered both points of view and can discuss them calmly.

Serially Lost Part 2–Writing 101

I thought we were going to be given future assignments to finish this three part series, but since none has been forthcoming, I will follow the lead of some other bloggers and just do it. The first part dealt witht the loss of my mother.

My brother, Herman, was nine years younger than me. When he was about two years old he would run across the lving room in our bungalow in Aston, Pennsylvania, yelling a-a-a-a-adooo! He was mimicking my sneezing as my allergies kept me doing. It was funny and I couldn’t help but laugh.

He was still in a crib, and his had drawers in the bottom. He loved to jump up and down, and every morning he would wake us all up with his bouncing. One morning we heard a loud ker-thump, wham! He broke his bed. The bottom of his bed was now on top of the drawers, which were now broken. It was time for a new bed.

Our dad decided to make the attic into two bedrooms. He did a great job. We had linoleum floors and drawers built into the walls that were about three feet wide and two feet deep. One day the little girl across the street came to play with Herman. They were four years old. Kathy was so cute with pine-cone brown hair and chocolate eyes. Herman and Kathy both loved to color. They started with the coloring books but got bored and decided to decorate Herman’s room. They colored the floor, the headboard of the bed, the walls, and the part of the ceiling they could reach when standing on the bed. When they were done Kathy went home. My mom saw the artwork later and called Kathy’s mom. Kathy needed to come back and help Herman scrub everything.

When I was in high school he was in elementary and I would walk him to school, then head back to the Cambridge High. We lived in Cambridge, Maryland. I loved my little brother but was embarrassed to take him. Teenage pregancy was common and I was afraid people would thik he was mine. Of course that was ridiculous since I would have had to be nine years old when I had him. Many kids thought I was a great big sister because I “took care of my little brother.” They couldn’t have been more wrong.

He was our dad’s only son. I was adopted by our dad so in my self-centered little mind, I wasn’t really his child (when compared to my brother). My dad was good to me, but I was jealous of my little brother. I stole money out of his piggy bank. I dumped my cold mashed potatoes on his plate and told Mom he just didn’t want to eat them. I was not a good big sister. . .until–

It was a warm spring day. Herman had gone down the street to play with one of the kids who lived there. He came back crying because the junior high kid had hit him in the leg with a baseball bat. I was so mad. As I ran out the door my mom asked where I was going. I never talked back to my mom (I knew better) but I said I’d be back in a minute. I grabbed that kid by the shirt front and said, “If you ever touch my brother again I’ll knock you flat. If you want to pick on somebody, you pick on somebody your own size, namely me.” I let go and went home.

Due to my mother’s temper, I ran away from home when I was eighteen. My fiance (thank God we didn’t get married) lived in Westminster, He graduated a couple of days after me and he had a room in a boarding house downtown. I packed my suitcase as full as I could get it and stayed with his parents while I found a job. I was concerned about Herman’s welfare after I left but I just couldn’t stay any more. I left him a note on his bed, telling him I was sorry to leave him with Mom’s temper and promised to try to find a way to stay in touch.

I was gone a month when I had to go home. My mom was driving the fiance’s family crazy with phone calls. I wouldn’t speak to her. When the boyfriend threatened to hurt me I knew it was time to go. My mom sent the youth minister from church to come and get me. We rode the ninety miles in near silence.

When I got home mom told me that Herman had carried that note around in his jeans pocket for weeks.

He grew up to be a Methodist minister and I was so proud of him. He married a sweet lady several years older than himself. He died at the age of forty one due to diabetes, which we didn’t know he had until just a year before his death. I miss him very much.