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Release Valve!

My friend Pat had to be in the city at the train station by 6 a.m. to meet the national youth director of her church organization. She had never met him before or seen a picture of him, and she was an hour and a half’s drive away from the city.

These complex circumstances grew even more difficult when her alarm didn’t go off, causing her to awaken late. After getting ready quickly in the dark so she wouldn’t disturb her husband, she finally got on the road, confident she could still be on time. Then her car started sputtering and coughing, and it finally stopped. She was out of gas. After receiving the assistance of a kind farmer, she got back on her way, but she was now sure to be late.

When she arrived at the train station, she was unable to find her passenger. After many calls and a great deal more panic, she finally located him at the bus station, attempting to find his own way since his ride hadn’t arrived.

When they finally reached their destination, Pat sat outside describing this horrible day to her mother. Her mother, though, was preoccupied with something on Pat’s sweater. Finally she asked, “Is this supposed be here?”

She was referring to a tag on the back of Pat’s sweater. Pat jumped up and pulled the tag around to inspect it, then she let out a loud, frustrated scream. Getting dressed in the dark, she’d put the sweater on inside out. Her scream apparently frightened a bird flying overhead, because at that very moment, a grayish-white glob landed on her arm!

Have you ever had a day where everything seems to go wrong and the energy keeps building and building until you feel like you’re going to explode? At times like this — and we all have them — we need a release valve. We need a safe place to let go of some of that energy.

Indeed, prayer is a very effective release valve that can result in decreased anxiety and peace. A non-judgmental, trusted friend is also a great place to be able to let off steam before it causes permanent damage. Keeping it bottled up doesn’t make you strong; it makes you dangerous to yourself and others.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

February 15, 2007