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'Slow to anger'

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

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Angry protests on the evening news, confrontations in the parking lot of the grocery store, or heated family arguments next door, are often closer than we'd like.

I have known anger of a violent nature. And, more important, I've seen it dissolve.

When I was growing up, my father had a volatile temper, and without warning the entire household could be turned into an uproar. I feared and resented these episodes. Though my mother was never touched, Dad would often strike me and my siblings. Sometimes he would even chase us down and beat us.

As I was the last to leave home, I endured these attacks longer than the others in my family. It wasn't until my college years that I deeply and earnestly sought a solution and began to pray about this. The anger was so much a part of the fabric of our home, I suppose I didn't put it into the category of "healable."

One time, after a particularly disturbing episode, I was in my room crying at first, but then praying.

All at once I realized that these were terrible events for my dad. On some level, I knew he regretted them and tried to compensate for them with generosity and kindnesses afterward. These attempts often fell flat. The kindnesses never had the impact that the hurt had, so I turned from them.

That night, however, in consulting with my divine Father-Mother, I felt a tremendous softening in my heart and great compassion for my dad. I was able for the first time to separate the behavior from what I intuitively felt was his genuinely good nature. I saw the kindness as real, and the violence as an imposition on him - something that could never be part of him, according to God. God made His creation like Him. God is Love, and as His children we each are the expression of this loving, divine nature.

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