Anger

WHAT SOME PEOPLE may not know is that I can get extremely irritable. This afternoon, after a tiring day at the Medical ICU, I talked to my father over the phone while simultaneously turning my old, trusted Compaq Presario CQ40 on. I do it all the time—multitasking. Tatay was in the middle of asking me how I was doing when he heard me grumble about the pitiful state of my four-year old machine.

"Bon," he said, "you're getting angry again."

"My stupid laptop isn't working."

"Did you try to get it fixed? Maybe you have friends who can help you."

"No, it's a stupid laptop, and it's not being useful when I need it the most."

I sounded like an immature nine-year old who whined when he didn't get what he wanted. Ah, regression.

My father, the patient man that he is, told me in a calm, assuring voice that I should pray about it. "Maybe God is teaching you something. Have you lifted this need to Him before you even thought of grumbling?"

That pretty much shut me up. I asked the Lord for forgiveness for my sudden burst of anger.

Then I heard my father laugh at the other end of the line. "Sometimes you're just like your mother." Together we quoted Ephesians 4:26, "In your anger do not sin," a line we repeat together when Nanay gets irrationally irritated at wet towels hanging all over the house.

Tatay has the right words for the right occasion. I remember that back in high school, I got so mad because my Social Studies paper (on the newly established state of East Timor, if I remember it correctly) didn't get printed on colored ink, as I originally intended it to be. I was fuming, and in my frustration I locked myself in my room, my face buried in my pillows already stained with tears. It was in the middle of the night, and my father graciously offered to go with me to the nearest computer shop to find an ink-jet color printer. I refused, said it was too late anyway. I was ungrateful. Days later I learned I still got the highest grade.

Tatay didn't always react that way. I remember my father enter my room once because he wanted to be somewhere quiet to finish one of John MacArthur's books. I think I was studying for a major exam that night. I didn't want unnecessary noise at the time, and well, his swallowing and breathing were distracting me from my notes. Impolitely I said he was noisy. I got a scolding because of my haughty attitude.

I don't know why I'm writing about my father when I should really be digging deeply into my medical readings. Maybe I just miss home, and writing about my old experiences feels therapeutic.

But please allow me to be amazed at the fact that Tatay giving me sound advice and correction is but a poor, imperfect reflection of God's own dealings with me on a daily basis when I read the Bible. God knows me more than I can ever know myself. He sees both the biggest and the tiniest specks of sin in my heart—my sudden bursts of anger and irritability included. Despite that, He deals with me graciously every single day.

Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end. 
Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart. 
Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight. 
Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain. 
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word. 
Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared. 
Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good. 
How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life. 
— Psalm 119: 33-40

2 thoughts on “Anger”

  1. hi, lance. i was meditating upon God's being a personal Father to me yesterday. i also viewed someone's pictures of coron. then i visited ralph's blog and yours. i just found the overlap interesting. i don't think i've seen an irritated you yet. may you continue to grow in patience. it's not my strong point either. :)

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