May 8th…“DID YOU EVER LOSE YOUR TEMPER?”
Never acquiesce to society’s verbiage without questioning and seeking a deeper understanding of the proper employment of words in every day life. Take today’s question, as an example. “Temper” is not a bad thing; it’s actually a VERY GOOD thing, for the word “temper” is synonymous with the word “strength”. Muse with me upon this scenario………metal tools, gun barrels, metal knife blades and even windshield glass, etc. …….they all have wonderful uses in our daily lives because they have “temper”. Or, to put it another way, they “have been tempered” with strength added, so to speak.
I’m sure all of us, over the years, whether in school or daily life, have heard someone described as having a “bad” temper or a “short” temper or even having a “short fuse”. It’s very easy to assume that temper must be something bad, right? Not at all. What actually is being communicated is that that person has a bad “strength” or a short “strength”. The conveyance here is stressing that the person in question truly has what is easily seen as an anger problem in showing that they have not the strength to control their anger and it bursts out against any and all that are sadly within the explosion range of their rage.
I gleaned some wise insight about today’s topic from our hard working farmer father, Russell Conrad Noorlun. Dad’s young years were spent in the 1920’s and during America’s Great Depression of the 1930’s. His large farming family had to make do with simple means of life offered to them from working the farmlands of northern Minnesota. My Grandfather, Edwin A. Noorlun, being the loving patriarch of his handsome family, I’m sure was faced with the reality (brought on by those hard times) of not being able to afford to buy gifts for his eight children on a regular basis. One day, though, a moment arose that allowed Grandpa Ed to present my father with a tiling spade as a gift. That loving gesture meant the world to my Dad and he treasured that shovel as if it were made of gold, since it was his beloved father that had bequeathed it to him out of his fatherly love.
I observed that, without fail, EVERY TIME our dad used that shovel (or any of his shovels and equipment), he would hose off the mud, scrub it down and then coated the shovel with a heavy oil that was rubbed all over the metal and wooden parts of the tool. Being the child that I was, and curious, I asked him one day why he performed this ritual on the shovel (and his other implements or tools). Here was his reply, “Son, first off, if you take care of your tools, your tools will take care of you! And, most importantly, by cleaning and oiling this shovel, it will never lose its temper. Because, IF it loses its temper, it will rust and fall apart when you need it the most and try to use it!!”
At first, my little boy brain couldn’t quite grasp the totality of what Dad had just shared; but as time moved on, I began to realize the correlation between what Dad told me and life as it happened right in front of me.
For instance, have you ever observed the scene of someone who is losing their strength (temper) and becoming angry? Many people appear to be “falling apart” in shaking fits as they lose their strength (temper) and give in to tirades of anger or even rage.
Or, like Dad’s shovel analogy, have you ever tried to use an old shovel that has lost its temper? I have. It could not stand the strain of the work it was expected to do because it had lost its strength (temper) by being allowed to rust from lack of care. As I rammed that shovel blade into the ground and pulled back to lift a load of soil, it bent and snapped in half…….just when I NEEDED it most.
So, to answer the initial question…….yes, I have “lost my strength” from time to time in life and have lived to regret every single instance. Why? Because almost 100% of those anger incidents were based upon selfish reasons that could have been avoided if I had “cleaned and oiled” my spirit with God’s Holy Word and then acted accordingly. It says in the Bible, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city”….Proverbs Chapter 16 and Verse 32.
I still have that shovel that Grandfather Edwin gave to our father, Russell. It now has been handed down to our son, Nathan. I cleaned and oiled that family “treasure” and then laid it in a lovely bed of Periwinkle flowers. I felt it to be symbolic of the fact that temper is beautiful, in its strength, and the flowers around this family heirloom complimented the beauty of God’s strength that is available for each of our lives. So are the heart thoughts of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.