Breathing Fire and Murder on the Road to Damascus

I retrieved this from one of my columns I wrote for the Picayune Item when I was the Lifestyles Editor. I had written a portion of it one day when I was in a Christian forum which two friends and I owned. Christians were going at each other with little respect for each other, and full of judgments which had no basis. I recognized a monster within me that held nothing of my LORD and Savior’s character and every characteristic of the Devil. Surprisingly, I received several acknowledgments that this particular column hit some sore spots. My aunt called me and told me her pastor had read my column to the entire church. None of us has any idea how words can comfort… soothe… persuade. Nor do we realize how much they can carve… chop… crush our siblings. James has a lot to say about the tongue.

Oh, I've been on that road to Damascus many times.

You know the one. Don’t be sitting there looking all holy, you've been there, too. It’s the road where you’re breathing fire and murder. Only instead of speaking or shouting, my fingers were furiously typing out Truths in bold italics, thinking all the while that the receiver of my words deserved the blistering I meted out.

Yet, that still small voice was whispering in my ear urging me, “Breathe, Gina, breathe” and then I would sit back appalled at my vindictive verbiage, wincing at the bald words before my eyes, or worse echoing in my burning ears.

How could such a sweet and loving person spew out all that sharp and jagged-edged shrapnel? I cringe, even now to think of those times when I let my ire replace my reason. 

Yea, I walked down that road which wound through the valley of spurs and loose swords slicing and dicing my fellow man in my full-blown anger at my perception of their “blatant stupidity” or at their callous disrespect of my person and well-being.

How does one ever retract that sword without leaving a wound so deep the repair of it leaves jagged scars? No matter how many times we say “I’m sorry,” the words are not a balm for the ragged wounds in tender feelings.

Sigh… Where is the satisfaction in letting loose the reins on temper?

There is none. After screaming, the head hurts, the throat hurts and the blood pressure is raised making various other things hurt. And even if one does not scream, but holds that temper in, it still makes the head hurt and the chest hurt. It does no good.

But, there is something about physical activity that makes the blood pump rather than press. It rushes through the veins gathering up the bad things and handing out the oxygen. The brain releases endorphins and suddenly ire is replaced with a sense of well-being and reason tip-toes back in, settling in the mind like a comforting quilt. We’re not talking about spankings here, more like a brisk walk or brisk sweeping-of-the-porch kind of exercise.

A soft word turns away wrath. I learned that lesson at a young age. I remember when my girls were little, and they were tired and cranky, whining etc. I would talk in a really soft voice and they’d quiet down so they could hear what I was saying. Kind of like those folks in the E. F. Hutton commercials. It was amazing. Yelling only made everyone more cranky. Lesson learned and peace descended upon my being as well as those around me. Until…
A monster out there snatched my lessons learned, twisting them into oblivion leaving more gray hair than sense.

Menopause.
That word makes men shiver in their tracks and young women lock up the guns and kids look at each other wide-eyed, wondering what’s gotten into mom.
Words of advice to the wary:
– Do not disagree with a menopausal woman. She is always right.
– Before things blow up, hand her the broom and nod toward the porch. Do not disagree with her.
– Flowers are nice, chocolate is better. When handing the offering to her, say, “You’re right.”
– Recognize the fact you have done absolutely nothing wrong and it’s all your fault.
– Remember to stop and pick up chocolate. We’re in it for the long haul so fluids and air filters need changing regularly.
– Walks are highly recommended. Getting out of the house while she sweeps the porch makes for cool heads.
– Hugs and saying “I love you,” work better than all of the above.

Jas 3:8  But no one can tame the tongue, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9  By this we bless God, even the Father. And by this we curse men, who have come into being according to the image of God. 10  Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11  Does a fountain send forth at the same hole the sweet and the bitter? 12  Can the fig tree, my brothers, bear olive berries; or a vine, figs? So no fountain can yield both salt water and fresh. 13  Who is wise and knowing among you? Let him show his works by his good conduct with meekness of wisdom. 14  But if you have bitter jealousy and strife in your hearts, do not glory and lie against the truth. 15  This is not the wisdom coming down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16  For where envying and strife are, there is confusion and every foul deed. 17  But the wisdom that is from above is first truly pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

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