Saturday, July 16, 2011

Temper, temper!

I have a terrible temper.

Most people don't believe this about me.  Generally I'm a pretty sunshiny, Pollyanna type of person who skips around surrounded by chirping birds, crowned by rainbows in a sky where the only clouds have sequined outlines of silver.  My little world is a happy place and I stay there as much as possible.  But I don't always stay there. Oh, no.  Sometimes unpleasantness creeps in, embedding itself under my skin, irritating more and more with every breath until it becomes so difficult to ignore that my happy little world dissolves into a cacophony of dissonance, thunderbolts and lightning storms that leaves me gritting my teeth and digging my fingernails into my palms. 

Now don't think I'm easily angered.  I do my best to let things roll off my back and focus on the big picture, asking myself "In the grand scheme of things, will this really matter?"  So when the steam starts coming out of my ears, be assured it's been building for quite a while, which might explain the level of reaction when it finally comes. 

So I find myself this healthy?  Is it normal?  I never really had a positive example of how to handle anger when I was a kid and, more than anything, I want to avoid the constant violent outbursts that punctuated life in those days.  Then I come across this:

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
—Colossians 3:8
and things start to fall into place.  While I have a bit of pride over the fact that I am fairly slow to anger, the reality is, that's not good enough.   Temper, anger, whatever you want to call it - it's not from God.  It's a very real example of how easy it is to slip into the "me" mentality when my goal is to always be looking up.  If I give in to the foot-stomping and muttering, I'm grasping tools that, instead of helping me out of the pit of temper I'm in, will tear and bite into the ground to create a chasm of misery.  Looking at things that way, the answer to my question is obviously no, this is not healthy and this is not good.
It's never easy for me to admit I'm wrong, especially when I know I'm right.  My angry thoughts may well be justified.  Let's face it, people in general are not kind, they are not altruistic and they often hurt others in order to benefit themselves.  Anger is a natural reaction.  But it takes something more, something otherworldly, to refuse to let that take hold, to push it aside in favor of humility and obedience and maybe even forgiveness.  A work in progress, I'm nowhere near mastering any of that.  But I can do pretty much anything with God's help, so I'm going to keep trying.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The 4th in the 'Norte

Fireworks over
Battery Point Lighthouse

The 4th of July in Crescent City is a big deal.  Summertime is the only time of year when we're not completely inundated with rain, so this holiday is the perfect one to highlight the beauty and unique features of our area while celebrating the birth of our country.  There are myriad trails that twist through lush redwood trees growing so tall you can only see a hint of blue sky peeking out from above the canopy of branches.  The ground below, pillowed with dried leaves and pieces of bark, springs up with each footstep.  Fallen tree trunks provide hiding places for all manner of forest creatures and excellent climbing challenges for kids of all ages.  Much as the rain during the other 3/4 of the year depresses me and makes me long for a different climate, summertime reminds me why I could never leave this place completely. 

July 4th, 1915 on Front Street

The amount of activities going on the 4th is astounding for such a small town.  The entire schedule is printed in the local paper, and it's possible to be involved in something from before breakfast until the wee hours of the night.  The one thing I never miss is the parade, which seems to be getting longer each year.  It begins at 10 am and goes until noon this year.  All but one member of my family are part of it and numerous friends and their children are also participating, so the enthusiasm that brings should hopefully overshadow the length.  Two hours is a looooong time.

After tomorrow, Crescent City will return to the sleepy little town it usually is, minus the rather colorful populous that makes the newspaper and the news of record on a regular basis.  Enjoy your 4th and be safe!
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