Last night I kindly ask the boys to put things in the recycle so it would be ready in the morning. My oldest came running into the house wanting me to be “nerdy” and look at this dead wasp he had found on the deck. I looked at the wasp but then realized the boys had still not finished the job….it started to brew inside and I said can’t you even finish a simple task, as I went to put a piece of box in the bin. Then it happened I opened the bin in disgust only to find my other boy stuffed inside JUMPING to scare me. I jumped back like a wimp and slammed the lid on him. Anger subsided and they finished the job.
It reminded me of a story from 6 years ago when I was in graduate school when a new running group had been established at WSU’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, WA. On any given day there was the potential of 4 or more runners heading out for a nice lunch run around the roads of the beautiful Yakima Valley.
On one of those days everyone’s schedules was a little different making running alone necessary. The thing about our running routes was the amount of dogs who like to come and greet us alone the way. Depending on the day we would each take turns yelling at or rushing the dogs giving them the scare of their lives…or at least reminding them they make us nervous.
That day however, there was no one to help deflect the dog attacks, it was just me. The beginning of the run was relatively calm with less then normal dog action but all of a sudden one of the usual suspects started running from the front porch to make my leg into his lunch snack. Normally, the 4 foot fence keeps him at bay but that day (of course when I was alone) he jumped the fence without hesitation coming to hunt me down. In that moment of panic I could see my new Brooks GTS 10’s being ripped in two and my new Brooks “short shorts” pulled to my ankles tripping me into ball of shame in the middle of the road. Somewhere out of my inner most soul it came, the loudest, most gnarly exclamation I have ever made “Go Lay Down”. The dog’s hair rose throughout its back and stopped dead in his tracks retreating to behind the protection of this fence.
In was in that moment of pride and relief I noticed that in the adjacent field the 15 plus goats were eyeing me down and peeing in unison. (As a former goat owner I have seen this response before) The urination in fear response is a classic.
With my running gear unharmed and firmly around my waist I finished my run and returned to the world of graduate school with the ever present reminder that my voice and face are capable of making goats pee.
On any given day, especially without protein, Joash in the recycle bin could have turned me towards anger instead laughter. I have to remember my voice and face are capable of not living James 1:19-22“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
May my anger never reach that point with my kids because that is not how I, as a Dad should ever be remembered.