Movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention.  From my favorite chair in the living room, I have a clear view down the hallway that leads to the bedrooms and the office.  My teenaged son is holding a pack of Black Cat firecrackers in his left hand and a lighter in his right.  I watch silently.  As the fuse lights, he opens the office door where my husband is working at his desk and he tosses in the firecrackers and shuts the door.  He’s doing that silent laughing thing where his hand is over his mouth and his shoulders are bouncing up and down.

I can’t help it.  I laugh.  Pop! Pop!  Pop! Pop!  Pop! Pop!  Pop! Pop!  Yes, it was a whole string of those things!  My son opens the door to view the carnage and my husband is just sitting there stunned! My what a mess those things make inside!  Who knew there was so much paper packed inside those little firecrackers!  Oh, and thank goodness for concrete flooring…

In that moment, my husband had a choice.  He could get really mad.  After it was all over, he said he saw the door open and shut and then heard the “SSSSS” sound of the fuse but couldn’t find it.  My son had tossed it perfectly to land right under the office chair my husband was sitting in.  So, you can imagine what he must have felt when the popping started!  To say it scared him would be minimizing.  (LOL!)

Now what??

Anyway, back to the choice.  He had a choice to make.  How was he going to respond?  He could get really mad.  Being scared like that often brings out anger.  The mess it made can definitely bring out anger.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that he didn’t get mad at all.  He had every right to get angry.  But, what my husband did in that moment was to choose to see the heart of my son and laugh.  I’m so glad he chose the latter.  It is such a great memory now that we all laugh at.

In marriage, we have this same choice to make with every single disagreement.  Are you going to trust what you are feeling and make a choice solely on that information?  Or, are you going to trust the heart of the other person, the good will they have for you, and make a choice on that information?

It takes a lot to remain calm and make the choice.  Too many get caught up in the “feels” and then react rather than respond.  There are a lot of things that you can do to help you stay calm and make that choice.  If you are struggling with making better choices and you would like to work on that, call the Rush Creek Counseling Center at 817-704-6991 and make an appointment or go online at www.rushcreekcounseling.org and self-schedule.

Audra Dahl, MA, LPC-S
Director of Counseling