Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Anger (01/24/05)
TITLE: Hot Anger ... Cold Fear
By Trish Thompson
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My brother, John had tried college and it didn’t work out, and the army was even worse, so he’d come home that summer, moving in again to try and get his life back on track. My Dad made it quite clear that he wouldn’t lend any money and if John wanted to drive the family car, he would have to go out and find a job and become a contributing part of the family. Shortly after this, John came in whistling and happy, he had finally landed a job, and had called some friends and arranged a double date, telling them he’d drive, for now that he was working, he thought he’d have no trouble getting the car.
Everything went wrong when my Dad arrived home, and refused to let John have the car, even though John had told him that he now had a job, suddenly that wasn’t enough, he couldn’t have the car and that was that. The silence that evoked lasted right through dinner, and then my Dad left the house to go to a meeting, and as the car pulled away, John’s anger erupted, shouting at the top of his lungs at my Mother and me.
He raged through the house, waving his arms and kicking things out of his way, and when he went into the kitchen and the shouting suddenly stopped, Mom and I looked at each other with relief, thinking it had run its course. Suddenly the kitchen door slammed back, hitting the wall and almost breaking the hinges, and John came stomping into the living room, dropping into Dad’s chair, a stream of angry words spewing out of his mouth. I looked at him and saw to my horror that he held in his hands a huge butcher knife he’d gotten from the kitchen, and he was tossing it back and forth from hand to hand, with a terrible expression on his face.
My mother stood across the room, behind the couch, her eyes huge, her face so white, she was frozen in fear; her hand was at her throat, as if to hold in the screams that were forming there. She looked at me as my brother looked away, and frantically mouthed to me to go and call the priest; I looked back at her and slowly shook my head, not daring to move or to speak. That raging anger so hot in my brother had filled me with an ice-cold fear, and I tried to make myself invisible, hoping that John would forget I was there, so that his anger wouldn’t be turned on me. We all stayed like that for what seemed like hours, but I know was much shorter than that, then John stood up, looked around, opened the door and left the house, stepping slowly into the dark, out of sight.
We didn’t know what to do, Mom and I, for there was no way to warn my Dad, as we heard the car returning up the drive, and we waited in such fear to hear the basement door open and close, so we’d know he was inside and safe. As he came up the steps we heard the garage door go up and the car engine roared to life, and John backed the car out and took off down the street. John got what he wanted that night, but at such a huge expense, his anger had served its purpose for him, but he’d left behind a family torn apart.
Somehow the whole thing got glossed over, patched up but never set right. I was sent back to school, John moved out of the house and that night was never mentioned again. Its effects were still there, hidden away but not gone, for every time there was a conflict in my life, the cold fingers of fear that came from John’s anger reached down through the years and grabbed hold of me. It is only since Jesus came into my heart and became the true Ruler of my life, that I learned to give to Him both the anger and the fear, knowing that once put in God’s hands, they no longer have any power over me.
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