Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: STEAM (12/03/15)
- TITLE: Don't Blow Your Top
By Pat Small
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Pastor Jimmy and his wife, Julie, had invited our family for supper. We were visiting before the meal when she inclined her head a wee bit in my direction, gesturing slightly with her chin. I understood, and followed her into the kitchen.
“What’s the cloak and dagger thing going on?” I inquired.
In a near whisper, she said: “Jimmy would kill me if he knew I was repeating this.”
Needless to say, I was all ears. I leaned in closer. “Do tell.”
“The other day,” she continued, “I was in a meeting your landlady was in as well. She said she saw you reading a pornographic book when she dropped by to pick up the rent. She’s contemplating writing to your mission board denouncing you.”
“What?” I almost screamed, imagining our appointment to Brazil flying out the window.
“Shh. I told you Jimmy would have a fit if he knew I told you. But I didn’t want you to be blindsided.”
“So what did she say I was reading?” I wondered. “The only thing I’m reading is a novel I got from the library. That’s not pornography by any stretch. I wonder if that’s what she’s talking about. Maybe she thinks we shouldn’t read anything but the Bible.”
“She didn’t say. Is the book that bad?”
“Not in my opinion. There’s the occasional word, but nothing worse than I might hear when I take my car to the garage, or shop at the discount store.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. I like to check out an occasional read myself. Maybe you need to keep suspect books in your room,” she smiled. “Some people feel the need to be everyone else’s conscience.”
“Right. Thanks for telling me.”
“Well, I guess the kids and our husbands must be getting hungry,” Julie continued, “so let’s get the table set. Just be careful from now on, okay?”
I fidgeted all evening. I crossed and uncrossed my legs fifty times if I did it once. I twisted my hair, and even peeled polish off one of my nails. Words and phrases whirled inside my head. As soon as the children were in bed, I opened my new Smith-Corona, and wrote to our landlady, Carolyn. My husband said he could almost see a cloud rising from the keys. I was a speed typist, but my fingers could not keep pace with the righteous indignation practically vaporizing through my pores. Line after line of angry commentary filled the page. When I finally stopped, the fabric ribbon was nearly in tatters.
I decided to let the document sit awhile before proofreading. My efforts had exhausted me. Maybe I’d even come up with something better later, I mused.
Rolling the paper out of the machine the next day, I sat back to proudly read my missive. I hoped I had properly excoriated her. But as I read, fully expecting to be amazed at my own brilliance, I began to see it through Christ’s eyes. I opened my Bible and read: “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” (Proverbs 29:11) Ouch.
The hateful language did not reflect the loving Christ who had forgiven me, saved me, and allowed me to be a missionary appointee. There was the added guilt of betraying my friend’s confidence if I mailed the letter. I had to stop and ask forgiveness immediately. Then I tore the paper to shreds and tossed it in the circular file near my desk.
I never knew if Carolyn mailed her denouncement. Perhaps she had second thoughts as well. And I’m glad my masterpiece never went further than the trash can. One disaster averted. Thank you, Lord.
Although this is ancient history, I guarantee: If my pressure cooker could talk, it might say, “take time to cool off, before you blow your top. It may save you from some serious burns.”
Based on a true event
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