Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Blowout (04/28/11)
TITLE: A Gentle Response Defuses Anger
By Shanta Richard
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Fred, the grandson of Lois, and his family lived in Key West, Florida. He invited the two friends for a visit. They accepted the invitation and arrived in Key West one day in spring.
They enjoyed the warm weather and went walking along the beach as often as they could. Annemarie, who did not have a family loved to play with the children of Fred.
All went well for a few days. Then Lois noticed that Annemarie seemed to be irritated over small things and made curt remarks to her. Lois ignored them and remained kind and pleasant. She was determined to enjoy her vacation.
One day they went to see the famous Ernest Hemmingway house. They walked through the elegantly decorated rooms and saw the beautiful paintings and pictures. They walked through the lovely gardens and petted the six toed cats.
Afterwards they went to the Gift shop to buy some picture post cards. A group of tourists entered and the friends got separated. Finishing her shopping, Lois looked for Annemarie but could not find her in the crowd. She therefore, went out and waited at the entrance.
Time passed. There was no sign of Annemarie. Finally Lois took out her cell phone and called her.
“Where are you Lois? I have been searching for you all over. I went into the next room and also to the rest room. I was so worried about you. My heart is racing and my head is pounding,” Annemarie screamed as she walked out of the shop.
“I am so sorry. I did not go inside. I came out and waited for you,” Lois replied.
“I told you to wait inside. You are so forgetful and careless. Here I am sick with worry and anxious about you and you are sitting there calm and quiet enjoying the scenery. How can you be so inconsiderate,” she shouted.
“I am sorry, my dear. Please forgive me. I did not intend to hurt you,” Lois pleaded.
They walked to the road. Annemarie continued to abuse poor Lois. Humiliated Lois hung her head in shame as passers by looked on curiously.
That night Lois cried herself to sleep. She prayed for God’s forgiveness and comforting touch. She felt guilty of wounding Annemarie’s feelings.
The next morning when she woke up, Lois felt calm. She realized that yesterday’s episode was not entirely her fault. Annemarie could have called her. But she knew that was not the real reason for Annemarie’s behavior. She was hurting inside. She was yearning for the love and attention Lois was enjoying with her family. It was not hatred or anger or even jealousy. It was a severe case of self-pity that was boiling within her like a volcano waiting for an opening to blowout. And it exploded yesterday. It was unfortunate that Lois was the target. But now that Lois had made her peace with God she was ready to forgive and forget.
Lois got up and made coffee and took a cup up to Annemarie’s bedroom. She was awake.
“Good morning, Annemarie,” Lois smiled. “Would you like to come with me to the beach and watch the sunrise?” she asked.
Annemarie looked at her sheepishly. She saw no accusation or anger in her face. Then she smiled and said,
“Thank you, Lois. I will be ready in a minute and we will watch the sunrise.” With that their friendship was restored.
“The source of a cheerful heart is the conviction that the world and our existence is, at the center good ….
That God is working continuously not only for good but for our good...
That beneath all the misery and pain of our common lives is the reality of grace working toward a predestined good.
If you can believe that, you can maintain a cheerful heart that will be medicine both to you and to everyone around you.”
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