Don’t Touch That Stove!

A poem after Ann Voskamp’s recent tweet on bitterness:

“Holding on to bitterness is like holding a flame in your own hand and wondering why you feel burned.”
– Ann Voskamp

Don’t Touch That Stove!

You who taught your children
to keep away from the stove—
why does your own hand
reach for the burner
and even carry the very flame
that scorches your palm,
now blistering? Quick!
Run to the sink. Turn
the faucet full blast.
Open your hand
under cold running water.
Break a leaf from the aloe,
slice it lenghtwise, lay its healing
thickness, cut side down,
on your palm. Close your fingers
and press the soothing fruit
to absorb into the burn. This
is what you should hold.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
(Ephesians 4:31)

An excellent article on forgiveness by Mark D. Roberts: How Can I Forgive Someone Who Doesn’t Admit to Having Done Anything Wrong?

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A Better Anger Management

Once, at a ski-town cabin, I chopped wood.
I put the log over a wide tree stump and swung
an axe for the first time. That was before
I had read any Annie Dillard, so I didn’t know
I should aim for the stump, should swing past
the log I wanted to split. But I liked that it was hard
work, I liked the transfer of energy from arms

to axe to wood, and then I was too tired even to be
angry. It’s like when I was a girl and my
big sister’s boyfriend took us to the batting cages.
When I swung hard but missed I felt heavy
like a storm cloud that couldn’t let down
its thunderload of rain. But when I heard
the crack of the bat and felt that same energy
transfer from my arms to the flying baseball,
I understood why they called it a sweet spot.

Sometimes when I am angry
I want to go to the batting cages
or the chopping block at that cabin,
but never
when I am the baseball
or the log to be split.

Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
(Luke 6:31)

Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
(Ephesians 4:26)

Short-tempered people do foolish things.
(Proverbs 14:17)