Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

December 29, 2002


We can use the ending of the year to bring closure to inner turmoil


            All of us have personal problems that are difficult to resolve. Indeed some may be impossible to solve, without the help of other persons. There are, however, some to which we can bring closure, if we are willing. The ending of the year is a good time to mull this over.

            Take, for example, the matter of anger. We can allow frustration with minor things to push our anger button. A driver cuts in front of us on the highway. A friend jabs us with subtle criticism. We wind up in the slowest line at the super market. Anger is kindled within us. How can we handle this burning within?

            Three personal affirmations offer a solution. First, anger hurts me, not the person who is the object of my anger. Second, no one can make me angry unless I give that person permission to do so. Third, I can choose to dissolve my anger and let it go.

            It has been clinically proven that anger disrupts the normal functions of the human body’s organs. Why, then, should I tolerate a disposition of my own mind to injure my liver or my kidneys?

            As this calendar year ends, we can choose to dispose of any lingering anger within us just as we handle the garbage – throw it out. That is what anger is anyway – garbage. The longer we let it hang around, the worse it stinks.

            Bitterness and resentment belong in the same category with anger. If we allow them to take up lodging in our hearts, they can rob us of our joy and eventually destroy us. No one is immune to these villains. Like the flu, they can attack us and wound us.

            That is why it is important to guard carefully the door of our hearts. If a friend gets a promotion we thought we deserved, we must deal sternly with any resentment that pops up. We can tell ourselves that our turn will come later. We can find the grace to help our friend celebrate his good fortune.

            A problem for some of us is our tendency to want other people to adopt our standards for living. Our society is highly complex, and more so every day. We must learn constantly to allow others the freedom to make a myriad of personal choices.

            None of us can make these choices for others. We must make our own and learn to feel comfortable with what we consider strange decisions some people make in a free society. It helps to remember that we are not alike.

            Some people like chicken; others like fish. Some folks like country music; others like opera. We can make ourselves miserable if we constantly insist that everybody eat chicken and like country music.

             People are different. The art is to learn to enjoy our own personal uniqueness rather than focus on the weirdness of others. When we do, we find our stomachs will digest either chicken or fish without the need for Tums.

            Hairstyles pose a dilemma for some people. Parents can become embroiled with their teen-agers about the length of their hair. Many young people challenge the authority of their parents by demanding the freedom to decide how long their hair should be.

            Here is an arena where we can employ an important principle for life. There are some ditches not worth dying in. The challenge, then, is to learn to choose carefully what ditches we are willing to die in.

            For most of us, the length of a person’s hair is not worth a fight. We should save our energy for those moral issues that demand from us the courage to stand for the right no matter the cost.

            An automobile runs better if the radiator is flushed now and then. The human mind can use a good flushing too. There are attitudes, ideas, and dispositions that, like rust, can be detrimental to our good health.

            By bringing closure to some of those things that cause us inward turmoil, we can give ourselves a jump-start on making the New Year a great year.

            Happy New Year!