So just to recap so far, we as a family have given up madness (no yelling or anger directed towards one another), and shopping for unnecessary things.
Right after I sat down at my computer and wrote about being Jesus to one another, and how I knew Satan would tempt me, I needed to go pick up Key from a friend's house. I waited for half an hour, I had forgotten my cell phone at home, and my child was not appearing in the place which we had agreed he would be for me to pick him up. I needed to go to the restroom, and my gas tank light was on. I was twenty minutes from home. Needless to say, I was becoming....angry. I had lots of rude and not at all nice thoughts about my friend and her insensitivity. The first thought that came to mind, in fact, was not, "I hope they are okay." It was, "Where the h*@* are they?" Which then made me realize that I needed to calm down and take true stock of the situation. This situation was turning out to be an inconvenience in my day, which immediately led to self centered frustration - directed outward towards my gentle friend. And that would not be exactly fair, given that I did not have my phone on me for her to call if something was wrong. I had left home early, and she did not cause me to have an empty gas tank. I knew where they lived way before I ran low on gas.
I needed to stop worrying about what amounted to an inconvenience and figure out how to be useful in the situation. So I drove home. And guess who was waiting for me? Both of my children home from their playdates, and another mother that had taken care of my youngest all afternoon. They were playing in the backyard. Waiting patiently. For me. It turned out Key and crew had needed to go pick up his friend's brother because friend's dad had gotten stuck at work. So as a nice gesture, friend's mom had tried to bring me my child to save me a trip. Had I not left home early without a phone I would have known this. In turn, friend's mom had been worried about me. Her thoughts had not turned to anger, but to concern.
Lucky for me I had given up anger for Lent.
Otherwise I could have missed my contribution to the whole thing. I could have damaged a sweet friendship. See, I didn't calm down and think straight on my own. Actually, I looked up at the ceiling of my car and said in an exasperated tone, "Lord help me! Really? No anger? That's a crazy thing for me to try!" And, thank goodness, He answered, by filling my lungs with a deep breath and a sudden realization that the mother that had my child was gentle, and kind, and treated Key as her own. Always. And that whatever was happening was because of some miscommunication; not because she suddenly changed personalities and became careless with friends. In fact she has never been careless with friendship. And so therefore, I should not be either.
It's getting easier letting anger run through me like a sieve, because I am getting humbled. I am messing up on a daily basis, and because I am more aware than ever of my emotions/ reactions right now, I am more aware than ever of my shortfalls. Which makes having patience towards others and extending grace towards others way easier. And it's easier because, honestly, when people expect anger and they receive sweetness, it's a gift for both. It changes what could become hostility into a life breathing moment.
You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness
in your right hand are pleasures
James 1: 19-20
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness.