God showed me how anger can push out the" happy" in a person and replace it with a dark hole. I guess if I got angry at enough people soon there would be no room for laughter and joy and the subsequent quilt-work of dark holes would produce a solemn, unhappy person.

My lesson in anger began with a good deed.

One expects to feel good about doing a good deed. This does not always happen. The day I set out to do a good deed I was a bit rushed. I had stopped at a grocery store on the way into the office and bought a bouquet of flowers. I checked through all the bouquets until I found one which looked inviting. I 'd brought three very nice vases from home and in the parking lot I separated the flowers, placing some in a vase for our secretary. I brought the flowers in and gave them to her hoping they would give her a little lift. As I set them down for her I mentioned she would need to add some water to the vase.

Her response surprised me. She asked in an abrupt tone, "And just why would you give me flowers and not bother to put water in the vase?"

I must have stood speechless for at least five seconds before I apologetically explained that I didn't want the water to spill all over my car on my drive into town. I live out in the country and right then our road was a mess of slick mud, causing the car to slide and rattle from one side to the other. I just didn't think she would mind adding water to the vase.

"Well", she continued, as if I was a naughty child and she certainly intended to make an example of me, "what kind of gift is this? Look at this flower," she said disdainfully as she tapped the little pink carnation, "it is wilted!"

I was shocked at her rough and thoughtless manner and embarrassed at being the center of attention, for a small cluster of employees had stopped in their tracks at the front of the office and seemed captivated by what was unfolding at the front desk. I wanted to fade away from the whole scene.

When the secretary continued I could hear a snicker from behind me and couldn't believe that anyone could find this funny. But the secretary seemed refueled with the attention she was getting and she touched another carnation.

"And what about this one, it looks rather wilted too?" She flicked at it in a condescending manner

"My gosh," I thought, "didn't your mother teach you manners?"

She continued in a dramatic fashion, finding more fault with the gift. She touched flower after flower, ridiculing each one.

"This one looks kind of droopy too and so does this one. Where did you get these anyway? They certainly aren't fresh!"

By now I felt like I was in some ridiculous melodrama as I watched her play out her part. My emotions charged through me in a chaotic manner from embarrassed at the scene and apologetic for not having found a nicer bouquet to disappointed and then angry at her thoughtless actions and words.

I turned my back on her and began slowly walking away. I was fighting tears and working to keep my composure. I spoke to her with my back turned from her.

"I can not believe that you would behave in this manner and be so hurtful when I tried to do something nice for you." By now I was only six steps away and I turned and faced the one individual who had been laughing and directed my next remarks to him, "and I cannot believe that when someone is hurt you would choose to laugh. I feel so badly. How can you see something funny in my feelings being hurt? What is with that anyway?"

He looked at me startled, stuttered over a few words, had the decency to look embarrassed and then said, "I don't know."

I turned away from him and walked into the small open area where photocopying is done and began working the photocopier as I tried to settle down my thoughts. I felt so aggravated at just everything. I promised myself, "I'll never do another nice thing for that thoughtless, condescending, insensitive old bat." This was not the first time her abrupt behavior and thoughtless words had left me feeling hurt and aggravated.

The following day I sat at my kitchen table reading my daily scriptures. The chapters were all about Joseph, this was Joseph, son of Jacob, who had been betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery to Egyptians. Joseph's life took some interesting turns and though he ended in prison, eventually he ended up in a position second to the Pharaoh. By and by, Joseph's entire family went begging for food in Egypt. Joseph, the head-man there was forgiving, gracious and caring even to the brothers who had betrayed him.

The final scripture I read that day left me sitting there stunned, for I felt it was directed at me. "Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another: for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin."

I felt chastised. I was holding a grudge and had been determined I'd never again do anything nice for the secretary. I was irritated at first and spoke out loud to my Heavenly Father. "You mean though she was the thoughtless one and she was in the wrong, if I don't forgive her, you hold me more responsible?"

Even as I look back on those moments I know I sounded like a child full of disbelief that I should be taken to task when it was someone else who did the wrong.

Begrudgingly, I knew I had to yield to my Heavenly Father, but I was not happy about it, still I said, "Okay, I'll forgive her." And then as if it cost me a lot to utter the words, I added, "Maybe I'll send her a nice card now and then."

With that, I immediately felt something amazing happen. In my chest it was as though a dark spot had been replaced by delightful light. I began feeling so good and knew my grudge was gone. I felt full of light, even happy!

Though I had not been pleased with the ruling I had agreed to follow his words and God in his mercy and wisdom decided to show me the darkness I had been carrying around. He literally allowed me to feel the dark being taken from my body and then allowed me to feel the light which replaced it.

Forgiveness is such a blessed gift; I think I just received a sunny smile from God.

©Ellie Braun-Haley Used With Permission All Rights Reserved By Author Website Mail

Finding You
Performed by Margi Harrell