I found myself up against a wall recently. I’ve been trying really hard to take up my cross once more and follow Christ, but I find myself stumbling over spiritual hurdles that often get in my way.
Sometimes it’s passions of the flesh, other times it’s worldly distractions. One of the biggest hurdles that I’m currently dealing with is my anger. I’m not normally an angry person. However it seems that there are little triggers or buttons that get pressed and I go from 0 to 10 in less than a second. It’s kind of like a switch, normally I’m good but then something happens and that switch gets flipped and I immediately get serious and angry, like I want to kick someone’s- you know.
I sometimes get this way with my own son. We both have the habit of pushing each other’s buttons. I guess we’re just too similar. He’s going to be turning 5 on Friday and I am so excited and thankful for all the lessons and blessings he’s given me. And I know he’s just a kid and I would never do anything to hurt him, but sometimes, especially when he refuses to listen to my wife and I, or when he throws a major tantrum because he’s getting the tablet taken away, it really upsets me because there’s no reason that he should be acting that way. I’ve gotten pretty angry with him in the past, and sometimes I even scared him. I’m not proud of that and I’m so thankful that Emily’s been helping me with my parenting and I am happy to say that I and finding new ways to deal with him in a positive and loving manner.
However, there is one thing in this life that still gets me seeing red no matter what. While it may seem trivial, I can’t handle it when someone flips me off. I instantly see red and I want to teach them a lesson. No, not in any violent sort of way, but I want to yell and scream at them. Sometimes I fantasize about catching up to the offending finger and looking at them square in the eyes directing all my anger into their soul. I want to tell them it’s not okay and ask what the heck did I ever do to deserve that? Sometimes I’d even wish mild inconveniences upon them. Like I hope you get a flat tire down the road or I hope you have a crappy day and get pulled over.
And because of the way that I react, I sin. In my rage and anger I don’t see the cross. I don’t see Christ. I only see my anger. I forget to pray for that person, and I forget to turn the other cheek. It’s only too late when I finally realize after I’ve cooled down, that I should have handled things differently. Besides, would I really be able to catch up and give the offending party what I think they deserve?
Once I’ve cooled down and regained control of my senses, I begin to truly realize the errors of my way. In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 5, Jesus says: ³⁸You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” ³⁹But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.“
In my anger I forget to love my fellow truck drivers or my fellow motorists, my brothers or sisters in Christ. I learned from Father Seraphim Aldea (by way of his YouTube channel) that when we love others, we love Christ. However, when we fail to love others, we also fail to love Christ. My anger has revealed to me just how much more work I need to do in order become more christ-like. Pray for me in this new year that I continue learning and that my heart will become even softer.
I’ve got a lot more work to do in my own spiritual life but I know with God’s help I’ll make it. Thanks for reading my friends, I hope you all have a blessed Theophany tomorrow.
– Orthodox Trucker