Everyone would rather see your happy face than your angry face. Unless your angry face looks like this. Then it will make people laugh and they will feel happy, even though you’re giving them the angry face.
If you’ve been with me for a week or more, you know that I am on a planning committee for the local annual festival and I’m a bit of a nut about it. I REALLY love the festival!
The carnival came to town earlier this week. They are all set up now. Today the vendors come. Hundreds of them. And they each have needs and wants that need to be addressed. The beer tent will open tonight, so the Budweiser guys will be doing their thing and the people who work over there will be preparing money and tickets and security. The girls in the pageant and the ladies that run it will be practicing for hours and they will have their final dress rehearsal. Tonight we show a movie in the park and the 24 hour softball tournament gets underway. Tomorrow morning everything kicks off in earnest.
For many of us on the committee, this will be the day that the REAL work begins. When I’m done typing this, most of my time until Sunday evening will be spent at the park, regardless of the weather, making sure that everything goes smoothly and everyone has a great time.
The next 4 days will present me with a truly awesome opportunity.
- Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.
- Extremely good; excellent.
I will have the opportunity to serve thousands of my neighbors.
The hardest part is certainly not running to get bandaids for a child that fell and scraped their knee or helping an elderly person find a shady seat and a drink of water. I am happy to do those things.
The hardest part is controlling my anger.
Sometimes my overwhelming festival joy gets buried.
Vendors throw a fit because they can’t ALL have the same 4 premium spots.
They yell at us because their booth has no electricity, even though they failed to note on their contract that they needed it.
If it rains, the vendors yell at us because there are no people.
If there are too many people we get yelled at for not having better crowd control.
The visitors complain that everything is too expensive, unmindful of the MONTHS we spend getting sponsorship to provide the community with free entrance, free stage entertainment, free fireworks, a free movie, free crafts for the kids and more.
They complain that everything is always the same.
They complain that their favorite vendor from last year has been replaced by someone new.
The rock-and-roll folks will complain that Friday’s music is country.
The country folks will complain that Saturday’s music is rock.
They will complain that we bring in too many vendors and entertainers, not leaving space for parking.
They will complain that there are not enough vendors and entertainers.
Seriously, by Sunday night, everyone on the committee is ready to quit.
To say that it is easy to get angry is a massive understatement.
But the Bible warns us about anger.
“A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.” (Proverbs 14:29)
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience, it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11)
“A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless. A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated… but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.” (Proverbs 14: 16-18)
“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:9)
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)
“You have heard that it was said long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment, but I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
And there are so so so many more. Here is a pretty good list
, including some verses that talk about when it is appropriate and good to be angry.
Anger can be hard to control. It is like a monster that springs up out of our heart at a moment’s notice, bursting forth and lashing out at the nearest hapless victim.
So this is my plan…
I’m going to revel in the joy that the festival brings me, giving thanks that God gave me THIS day, and He (or She, if you prefer) allowed me to share it with my beautiful family.
He gave me this opportunity to show His Love to the person in front of me & I can’t know what kind of day (week, year, life) they’ve had that made them so angry. All I can do is try to show them love.
Every time angry thoughts pop into my head I’m going to take a deep breath of the air, fragrant with the aroma of elephant ears and smoked BBQ, and I’m going to look at the people around me. I’m going to see the children, wide-eyed with wonder. I will see the teens, holding hands and blushing with first love. I will see the elderly couples, still holding hands and eating corn-dogs together. I will see that the unhappy person yelling at me about their (most likely) unreasonable demands is the anomaly, not the norm. I will let them finish and I will speak to them with all the respect and love I can muster up, and then I
will let it go.
If I don’t let it go… if I just turn around and vent MY anger on the next person… then how eventually everyone will just be grouchy and yelling at each other. But if I do let it go, I can just instantly go back to immersing myself in the glory that is the festival and so can everyone else.
Doesn’t that sound like a good plan?
If you live near me, and you find yourself at the festival this weekend, do me a favor. Find a person (any person) in a hideous dayglo yellow FESTIVAL COMMITTEE shirt and thank them for their hard work. Tell them your most favorite thing from this year’s event.
Then come and say hello!
To borrow the perfectly descriptive words of a dear friend who shares my passion, “I’ll be the one running around with cotton candy in one hand, elephant ear in other, hat with spinny on top and 6 kids trying to keep up with me while I stiff arm my way past all the little defenseless children to the front of the line!”
Now if you will excuse me, I need to go pick up a helium tank.