Little Coal of Fire

My anger protected me only for a short time; anger wearies itself out and truth comes in. ~ C.S. Lewis

I’m in a place I’ve never been before. As I sat looking out of the window, I saw a beautiful little bird. He sat on a branch for a long time, only flying away when I made a move to get my camera.

I looked it up in the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds. It was a Vermilion Flycatcher. This is how it was described: In southern Texas it is conspicuous, often nesting near houses. The bright colors of the male have earned it the Spanish name brasita de fuego, “little coal of fire.”

Reading about this little red bird made me think about anger. It, too, often nests near home and burns like a little coal of fire. We express anger in so many ways. For some, the fire ignites almost instantaneously at the first sign of contradiction, or criticism or bad driving. Others fan the flame by repeated retellings and dwelling until anger blazes up.

Some try to snuff it out by burying it in hurt and sorrow. But the little coal still burns in the belly. Anger may be only one letter short of danger, but it’s not the getting angry, but the ways we share or deny it that cause our problems. The trouble is finding the countermeasure. Maybe Jack has found it for us. Anger wearies itself out and truth comes in.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

33 thoughts on “Little Coal of Fire”

  1. hello there Debbie, just found this post, as I was thinking about grudges and resentments! how interesting. I too just love the one letter short of. now about finding that countermeasure….

    1. Hello nnkato – Thank you for stopping by. Grudges and resentments always make me thing of walking with my boots full of water.
      ~ Debbie

  2. ‘but it’s not the getting angry, but the ways we share or deny it that cause our problems’

    oh boy…

    You are so right all about counterbalance. I wonder if someone could invent a handy dandy Anger Balance Bracelet that would alert me when I am shifting into tricky anger waters?

    I would buy one of those.

    HARD for me to do GOOD for me to think about

    XO Jen

    1. Dear Jen –
      I think some folks swing like a pendulum from over expressing to inhaling their anger. And some seem stuck at on one side or the other. Praying right in that exact moment is the best counterbalance I know. But it’s interesting how often, praying isn’t particularly appealing when we’re angry. πŸ˜‰
      Peace and love to you today,
      ~ Debbie

      1. Jen – I’m smiling WITH you – funny how God tries to get in the way when we’re angry, isn’t it?
        love to you, dear Jen,
        ~ Debbie

  3. Wonderful words, Debbie. We are wise to learn… no one or no thing has the ability to make us angry. They only have the ability to unveil who we already are. Anger… one letter from danger… God bless good friend.

    1. mt – I really like that: “They only have the ability to unveil who we already are.” I agree, they don’t determine who we are, our reactions simply expose us.
      Love and grace to you, mt,
      ~ Debbie

  4. Oh, the burning coals of anger, resentment and bitterness!
    There is only one place those “burning feelings” come from

    There is only one place we can run to for shelter

    God Bless

  5. Praying to let the truth in quickly, gracious one, before I hurt someone else or myself. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for your gentle lessons. You bless us! love and prayers – the other deb

    1. Dearest Deb – Such a good point… I do think anger nearly always hurts someone. If not quickly controlled, we certainly hurt ourselves and if it continues to burn, we hurt others. And yet, it is the most socially acceptable emotion. Interesting, isn’t it?
      Love and grace to you, Deb,
      ~ Debbie

  6. Wednesday I had a horrible job experience and must quit my current writing job. I have been quite angry for I feel robbed and violated regarding this. Thanks for pointing out the truth and in that way, helping me shuck this dangerous anger.

    1. oh katharine – I’m so sorry to hear of your hurt and anger. When situations are unfair or unjust or opportunist, it’s so difficult not to let the anger roll.
      ~ Debbie

      1. The trick is that once anger fades, the temptation to do nothing sets in: Maybe it wasn’t so bad. Maybe I need not quit. Maybe I imagined it.
        Then comes second guessing. (A nice word for double-mindedness)
        With self-doubt on its heels.
        Best to do all our doing from faith, from assurance, from evidence, and not from reaction. sighs.

      2. katharine – so true, but so hard. We are (most of us, at least) emotive by nature. Making either empirical or faith based assessments when our emotions are engaged is challenging, at the very least.
        May the days ahead provide you with both clarity and peace, dear faithful one,
        ~ Debbie

  7. The part I love is: Anger may be only one letter short of danger, but it’s not the getting angry, but the ways we share or deny it that cause our problems. The trouble is finding the countermeasure…

    I don’t think you meant wine or Courvoisier Cognac, either. Yup. That was the problem with my anger. I buried it in booze…boy, was that a guarantee of flaming the little coal of fire!

    I love this post. Anger always will out! Each of us has our own little coal strategy…until we weary out and truth comes in…or we die of it.

    This is a very important topic. Thank you for addressing it with your typical sensitivity.

    1. As Caddo requested, I probably need to return to this topic and address the problem of feeling completely uncomfortable with anger – which, as you know, is my story.
      Thanks for adding your unique take on anger here, Heidi. Quite right, “anger will out”. It’s amazing to me how the deeper truths douse the coals.
      ~ Debbie

  8. Wow. What a peaceful and lovely way to describe anger! Hope the home fires are burning ok for you?! Love to you, Mel PS beautiful bird.

    1. Hello Mel – As Debby said, the bird is a beauty, but anger, not so much!
      All’s well here (today and tomorrow, here, is Houston)! I’ll be spending the afternoon and evening with my son, who’s here for a conference. I haven’t seen him for 2 1/2 years so I couldn’t be happier!
      Hope your weekend is wonderful!
      Love and peace to you, my friend,

  9. Sis, I really like this–mostly because of the “lesson” that anger is short of danger by only one letter!! Wow, that is really good for me to remember–and I SO will!! Bless you BIG, my wonderful Sister Debbie!

    1. Dear Caddo – I stay on the muted end of the ‘negative emotion’ range – bad, sad, but almost never mad. That’s lead to it’s own set of difficulties. I’m real good with the positive ones – even when they aren’t warranted. Working on that. πŸ˜‰
      Grace and love to you, Sis,

      1. Maybe you could do a post, elaborating on that–I could use a fuller curriculum re “the muted end of neg emotions”. I’ve no doubts about your excellent teaching skills!

        Have a blessed day.

    1. Debby – He was such a pretty bird and a new one to this Yankee.
      We all have our Achilles heel, for some it tips haphazardly on the pedal πŸ˜‰
      Good to see you, too. Closed for repairs so I’m expecting the hotel internet will be able to keep up!

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