“Looking kind of downcast this morning,” I said to Stan.
“You are too observant,” he said with a slight smile.
“Want to talk about it?” I asked.
“Promise you won’t think less or me?”
“Promise,” I said.
“Well, I blew it again yesterday afternoon,” Stan began.
“How?” I asked.
“My wife and I went out to do some shopping, which we always enjoy. We were going to have some lunch and then go to a favorite store to see about some Christmas gifts. But I ruined it before we even got started.”
“What happened?” I asked him.
“I happened,” he said with a bit of drama. “I let my ugly old self rise up and get angry with a driver who took the parking place I had my eye on.”
“Rather than just let it go, I really lost my cool. I said some ugly things that made me realize I am not where I like to think I am in my relationship with God.”
“Do you know what it means to close someone’s spirit?” he asked me. But before I could even answer, Stan said with frustration, “What I said closed my wife’s spirit so much that I had, in a thoughtless instant, ruined what could have been a very nice outing.”
“After my outburst, my wife said she had lost her enthusiasm for doing anything with me. We went home and I spent a frosty afternoon and evening.”
“Will I ever learn?” Stan said, more to himself than to me.
Stan continued, “I have read in Proverbs countless times that a hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but only when I do the stirring do I realize fully the truth of that verse.”
“Is it fair to say that the parking spot wasn’t as important as you thought it was?” I poked a jab at Stan.
Stan responded, “Amen!”
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger pacifies contention. Proverbs 15:18.
Prayer: Lord, you know my tendency to be hot-tempered and to overreact in ways that are so contrary to what you want. Ways that can be so terribly destructive. I ask for your forgiveness and for your help in changing so that I am only who you intend. Also, that I am only the person you can and will use, as well as being only who I am needed to be. Amen.