11 10 2015

I could hear the frustration in his voice seconds after I answered the phone. It was something I was accustomed to since he Rock _nseemed to call me every time he was upset about something, or at someone. This time was no different, only the situation and individual had changed. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with this lady!” He started. “I’ve tried hard to be nice to her but she always has a gripe about something I can’t control.” He was referring to an elderly woman who was neighbors to a house he rented out. It seemed she had a complaint about something over on his property that she felt was affecting her home. At first he found her issues quite harmless so with a smile and a kind word he would take care of the infraction in hopes it would please her and they could get along well. But the more he did the more she wanted with many of the demands stemming toward the ridiculous. Try as he did to fix little problems or explain to her why certain things could not be addressed, her persistence to complain would not stop or even slow down, and our friend’s patience was growing thin. Actually I was pretty impressed on how he had handled it so far; this was someone I knew had a temper and on more than one occasion had ripped others verbally once he got angry. But over time he had worked hard to throw off that attitude and was determined this ole gal was not going to get on his last nerve no matter what she did; well at least that’s what he had hoped.

“I can’t believe this crazy nutcase, she calls me at work to say a limb from my tree came down in her yard and wants me come right away to move it, otherwise she’s calling the authorities. I explained I’m at work and couldn’t take care of it until later. No way was she going to hear that, she wanted me there now! And I finally lost it! I got mad and yelled at her I would take care of it when I was ready and she just needed to get a life, take up a hobby or something to fill the idle time she spent causing trouble for others. And I hung up!” At the end of his rant I really didn’t have anything to say, that I hadn’t said before at least, so I continued to just listen. “I realize she’s old, lives alone and I’ve never seen anyone visit her, but still she doesn’t have to be that way, right?” “I mean a person can only take so much!” “Well maybe I shouldn’t have said some of things I did but a man can only take so much and this badgering needed to stop!” “I don’t know what to do, guess I’ll talk to you later.” And our call ended. Day or so later I received a text that said, “Going to talk to her and apologize.” I then sat back in my chair, and smiled.

“A moment of anger can destroy a lifetime of work; where as moment of love can break barriers that took a lifetime to build.”

When he cooled and began to think, as I knew he would, he began to realize that his crabby neighbor didn’t suddenly become that way; it was something that grew over time, perhaps because of some hurt in her life he knew nothing about. And the more he thought about it the more he started to see her in a different light than he had ever done before.

You see this young man used to have quite an anger issue, getting mad at the drop of a hat. But in recent years he had dedicated his life to make every effort to honor God with his words and his deeds. He realized that unless he harnessed that anger he would never be the man he wanted to be for his Lord. He found a place to learn ways to achieve the results he yearned for, with words like this;

James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

And a favorite of mine:  Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

This “Traveler of the Rock Road” realizes that there will be people and situations that will try his patience for the rest of his life and he’ll have to find ways to deal with them. And that doesn’t mean he should never get angry, but decide how long will he hold on to that anger, what will he say during those moments, and what then will be right thing to do that will bring a better resolve, perhaps even healing. Like most of us he hasn’t come to the point of never getting mad, but I do believe he’s on the right track to getting control and even living a happier life.

I read the words on the text once more: “Going to talk to her and apologize.”

I wrote back only a few words;

I’m proud of you and love you,


See ya next time!!




3 responses

11 10 2015
Gary Austin

Excellent, Dad.

12 10 2015

Great story but g
otta’ know–what happened after he apologized?

13 10 2015

I never asked him, but knowing Justin; I’m sure he made it right. 🙂

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