Rhino’s Hide; Dove’s Heart

This post is not about me.  But if it was, I wouldn’t tell you.  It’s about a man.  That’s all that matters.

An angry man.  Not something I say out loud to anyone.
People, both good people and the other kind, are able to translate, equate, restate, with differing degrees of inaccuracy.  Example: “anger” misunderstood with “danger”.  It is like that one exchange between folks that has been going on for centuries:

“This is what you said.”
“No, that is not what I said.”
“Well, that is what I heard you say.”
“Yes, I believe you.  But those were not my words, were they?”
“(Long pause) No, but that is what you meant.”
“No, that is not what I meant.  It is what you wanted to hear, maybe.  It is what you wanted to believe.”

You have the basic idea, yes?  Maybe you’ve had that dialog with different words.

Returning to the track, my thinking out loud about anger, I again acknowledge that I am angry.  Fortunately, the anger has not permanent residence, here.  It blows in, like a sneaky wind missing the normal comfort of a cool breeze on a hot day.  My anger is inward, and shows up on the outside with slight sarcasm, or less-than-kind comment, or an occasional scream of anguish … “AAAAUUUUUUGHHHHH!!”

“It’s not the big things that send a man to the mad house.  Not a death in the family (one example).  No, it’s the small things: the snap of the shoelace when there is no more time.”

Quote from Time Magazine I remember from about thirty years ago.

Anger rides my heart and soul about my depression that is always close by, but not always at sitting across from me.  This anger steals my joy for a while, until I rally up and fight it off.  This anger distorts my thinking / perception, long enough to take me off the path for a bit.  There has been a tragedy; and maybe I would say that is a small tragedy.  By the way: is that an oxymoron?  ‘Never liked that word: the word “ox” combined with the word “moron”.  Both have negative connotations, for me at least.

This tragedy … it happened a long time ago (thirty years or so?)  Like the depression, I fight this tragedy’s threat to derail my life.  It was the tragedy of minimizing hope; embracing more isolation than what was healthy; forsaking visions and dreams.  Fortunately, the older I become I experience the piercing awareness that I have to fight it, and that I don’t have to settle for it.  There is far more to this life than the psychological hoodlums lurking outside.  I am a fighter, just like you.  I have to tap that truth, and live with the hide of a Rhino, and the heart of a dove.

5 thoughts on “Rhino’s Hide; Dove’s Heart

  1. yes, you must not let it take you, continue to fight the rhino, and writing this piece is a small victory in that ongoing battle. you have a gift with words and that is one of your strongest weapons against all that threatens to hold you back and take you down – beth


  2. brilliant! quote a deep piece – yet written with flow and read with ease – which is the mark of a gifted writer. And I like your well chosen words )blows in) and the splash of humor – (ox and moron being paired – lol) lightens the feel and adds your personal touch – okay – enough of that boring criticism and let me just say that I have heard/read many things on anger and this one was layered and excellent – wait – more boring criticism – but it is true – and loved the ending with the “hide of a Rhino, and the heart of a dove….” never heard it that way – but ’tis so true.

    and for some reason it reminds me of a talk I heard with Bill Hybels (on a cassette tape commute) and he talked about his silent anger – and how that was more dangerous than the big temper – and well – you seem to add something in the middle of that continuum – “shows up on the outside with slight sarcasm, or less-than-kind comment, or an occasional scream of anguish” –

    enjoyed this much.


    1. Hey, Dr. Prior: Critique is good; and when there is resonance in the critique, and respect in the critique, its even more of gift. Therefore, Professor, thank you for your observations. Let me emphasize this: I have heard that metaphorical diddy about the hide of a rhino and the heart of a dove from someone else. I did not come up with it on my own. So, I cannot take credit for that. Well, there is plenty to say about anger … Maybe you should write a post about anger … ? Okay, have a great second half of the week. T


      1. thanks T – and oh man would I enjoy writing about anger – cos I would share about some of the girls I worked with in 2001 – and just how in counseling and in life – anger is that suitcase emotion that usually gets packed and so many times health in other areas can only happen when the suitcase is opened and sorted – which takes time and help from the Holy Spirit because each journey is so unique. also – a few studies have recently connected some anger – and feeling sir rage – connected to microbes in the body causing imbalance – so yeah, I have a few posts in there – ha! but I also want to write about alcohol, friendship, blogging connections, food, my backyard relaxing – and ahhhhh – only so many hours in the day. So I will just keep winging what I write each week and then I am so glad to soak up posts like this too –


      2. Professor Priorhouse … ‘Ever read / heard that quote “A writer writes because he / she HAS to (must) write.” So, we write. And we enter that struggle & privilege of balancing writing with family, with ministry, with self-care. It is a potentially perplexing realm, the challenge of dealing with those scenarios from the past where anger & relationships mixed, and you don’t ever … really … forget what happened. Forgiveness, yes. Forget, no. Always good dialoging with you, Professor. T


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