And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”
Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.
EPHESIANS 4:26 (NLT)
I was not aware that I harbored anger in my heart for Dave. I knew that during his cancer journey, he had hurt me with his outbursts of rage, but I knew how much he was suffering. His emotional and physical pain were at the root of his anger. But instead of dealing with my hurt, I chose to bury my hurt and forgive him – all for the sake of peace. After all, I thought, wasn’t that the “Christian” way? I prided myself for being the calming force in our family. BUT … when I let the sun go down on my hurt/anger, I allowed a bitter root to develop in my heart that I had no idea was there. I built walls around my heart – I withdrew.
Until … last year when Dave’s surgeon told us that Dave’s shoulder (the only one he has) needed to be replaced and he would not be able to use his arm for six weeks!! I would have to be his everything – except for his being able to walk but I would have to be by his side 24/7. I would need to feed him, bathe him, dress him – yes everything! I nearly had a panic attack right there in the Dr’s office!
Now, it was not the amount of care that scared me – what I was deathly afraid of was him being in pain and completely at the end of himself. I remembered, in the past, his frustration and anger towards me because I am clumsy and not as coordinated as he is. (I swear he can do more with his less dominate right hand than I can with my two hands!) I remembered the sleepless nights, the constant tension of walking on eggshells to avoid his anger and the guilt and shame I felt whenever I resented having to be his sole caregiver and recipient of his anger.
Now I knew that Dave had matured since that time BUT I remembered the pain, the hurt and the shame – those wounds that had never healed. As I remembered I was surprised and appalled at the intensity of my feelings. The angry bitter root was exposed and now healing could begin. Awareness is the first step to transformation …
Search me O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you.
And lead me along the path of everlasting life.
PSALM 139:23-24 (NLT)
On the journey with you,