This is a story about Temper and, his brother, Misery. It is also a story about Joy.
Temper and Misery live and play together and they also visit all sorts of people in their daily lives. They may visit regularly and they stay over sometimes. And only rarely are they seen apart, but often after Temper has gone to bed for the evening Misery stays up, sometimes all night. Even though Temper and Misery love each other as brothers dearly do, they have little real understanding of how they impact on each other and in others’ lives. What’s more, they probably don’t care. Apart from their love there is a hidden co-dependence about them.
But enough about Temper and Misery for the moment; let’s get into the story.
The Day the Two Brothers Visited Joy
One day, at the insistence of Fear, Temper knocked at the door of Joy. Joy, who was married to Anxious, thought nothing of inviting Temper in for Tea; Joy was having some serious time alone with Anxious up until that point.
Temper sat down with his tea, and, like that Tea, was boiling with Rage from within—this is something Temper did well—to boil with Rage. Joy didn’t expect Temper to turn Tea into Conflict, but Anxious seemed gratified that Conflict was now part of their four-way Fellowship—Joy, Anxious, Temper, and now Conflict.
Soon Joy started to get sad.
Little did she know that when she so graciously invited Temper in, in slipped Misery too! She didn’t know, or, perhaps she had forgotten, that Misery always accompanies Temper, but Misery is a little more subdued and only appeared after Temper had really made himself known.
Tea had become more home to Conflict than to Joy, and Anxious had become even more anxious. (What else does Anxious generally do?) Even though Temper had somehow mysteriously left, Misery had now made a home in their house. But then the now debilitated Joy began to miss a vital part herself. Conflict had made her miserable with Anxious and Misery and she didn’t like that one bit.
During the night, Joy became frightened and had some bad dreams. With Misery under her roof she tossed and turned, and, between nightmares, she lay awake wondering what to do.
Now, in the morning, as the sun arose, shedding its new life into the living room as the curtains were drawn open, Joy decided with Courage to challenge Misery with some happier truths. Misery, still wiping the sleep from his eyes, couldn’t stand such happy facts and was quickly on the back foot. From there Misery couldn’t recover; not with Anxious out of sight and Temper long gone.
Suddenly Misery bolted!
Then Joy became more like her normally contented and openly curious self. But it was not before she had dealt with Conflict, Temper, Anxious, and Fear—by applying Courage.
And one thing Joy learned—for Joy loves learning—is to be careful to open the door to Temper, especially because of the family resemblance Temper has with Misery.
Joy learned that with Misery around nobody has fun and the peace quickly evaporates. As a result, Joy became a lot more assertive whenever Temper would ever again knock at her door. She would calmly and politely ask Temper to come again another day and as somebody else.
Joy became good at preserving her vital identity.
Misery is connected with Temper and it has an effect on Joy. Misery can linger long after Temper has left. Joy learned, therefore, to be more assertive with Temper. Joy learned to ask Temper to identify, first, with Resolution, before inviting him in.
It’s better to resolve anger before it impacts on innocent others than to inflict misery unnecessarily.
Joy is unrestrained when anger is worked through and resolved.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.