I get up first in our house. Oban, our seven month old golden retriever, gets up with me. Or usually, he’s been up for awhile and finally gets tired of waiting so he growls a few times to wake me up. Time to take a pee. I let him out, and he just takes off like a rocket through the bushes into the neighbors and beyond. I’m yelling for him to come back. I’m whistling. I’m growling at him. Yes, growling. We took this “Australian” dog training course that says dogs need a pack leader so when they’re doing something bad growl at ‘em and they’ll stop. I’m standing out here in my boxers, no dog in sight, growling loud, and I wonder what the neighbors think. Oban’s not stopping. He is gone.
And I’m pissed.
By the time he gets back, happy as can be for the romp he just had, I am ready to give him a good thumping. I don’t. We don’t treat our animals like that. But the point is I wanted to. My anger is totally out there, exposed. I’m furious.
This anger thing is really ugly. And old. Its been a battle of mine for years. I’m asking God, What is this about, Lord? But I’m not ready to hear an answer yet ‘cause I’m still pretty mad so I make some oatmeal, feed Oban, and head into my office to pray my “morning prayers.” It takes awhile to get through those prayers, and I can’t even really get into it until I first confess my anger and ask forgiveness because everything else feels like a total sham till I do. But I’m coming back to God and to myself. After about 45 minutes I’m in a better place to hear.
Forgive me for this anger, Lord. What’s this all about?
And here is how God speaks this morning. I’m “moved” or “prompted” to pick up Diary of an Old Soul (by George MacDonald, the old Scottish poet). It’s sort of a daily reading I’ve been doing for years. I turn to today’s entry and here is how it reads:
Keep me from wrath, let it seem ever so right: My wrath will never work thy righteousness. Up, up the hill, to the whiter than snow-shine, Help me to climb, and dwell in pardon's light. I must be pure as thou, or ever less Than thy design of me--therefore incline My heart to take men's wrongs as thou tak'st mine.
Whoa. Of all the things, this one’s about anger. Now what’s really good about this is once again, I’m reminded God hears me, and he speaks to me. Even when I’m blowing it. That is just so loving. Reassuring. Kind.