Sequel to The Crying Room
Slowly, Emma stood up. The
Bitterness Room?! Was that what she was feeling…bitterness??!
Toward her friend Joy? Toward the "hard-knocks"
in her life?
She gasped at the next thought…
…even toward God?!?
Numbly, Emma followed the lady
monitor toward the door. No one even bothered to look up
or notice that she was leaving.
Probably no one cared.
The lady monitor opened the
door and pointed. Emma peered out. Sure enough…there was
a gold plaque on the door across the hall.
Bitterness Room was
all it said.
Cautiously, Emma crossed the
hall and opened the door. She drew in a gasp as she looked
around. Beds lined the walls. There were people everywhere
-- sick people! She wasn't sure she wanted to enter…people
were coughing, gasping for air, doubled over in pain…
"Wait…" she said
to the monitor at the door…"are these people contagious?
I mean…I don't want to come in here if I'm going to get
sick or something…"
"If you have been sent
here, then you are already ill…" said the door monitor
roughly -- a man this time -- and not one Emma wanted to
spend a lot of time with…there was a meanness, an evil look
"Find your own place to
seethe…you won't be eligible for a bed until you begin gasping
for air or retching…"
"Great!" Emma muttered
sarcastically as she looked for a place to sit. "I
Before she could even sit down,
an argument broke out in the middle of the room. Two women
were fighting over one bed. One of the women had blood dripping
from her nose. Her face was pale.
Emma watched them, wide-eyed.
"This is MY bed. I DESERVE
IT! I've had such a hard time, ALL MY LIFE!!! NOBODY EVER
GAVE ME A BREAK-the least you can do is GIVE ME THIS BED!"
"Your bed??! YOUR BED!?
HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT? HAVE YOU EVER LOST A CHILD? IF YOU'D
HAD AS MANY MISCARRIAGES AS I'VE HAD… IF YOU'D BEEN THROUGH
WHAT I'VE BEEN THROUGH, THEN YOU'D BEG ME TO TAKE THIS BED!"
The mean-looking door monitor
grabbed both women roughly and shoved them toward the door.
"THE ANGER ROOM IS DOWN THE HALL! TAKE IT IN THERE!"
As the women shoved past Emma,
they knocked her purse out of her hands. The contents went
flying across the room.
Emma called timidly. "Does anyone have a flashlight?
I can't see -- and I've spilled my purse…I mean, THEY actually
spilled my purse."
Emma could feel herself getting
"EXCUSE ME! DOES IT HAVE
TO BE SO DARK IN HERE?! SOMEONE TURN ON THE LIGHT FOR PITY'S
Would no one respond?! Even
the door monitor went back to his paperwork, without even
attempting to help Emma.
As Emma searched around on
the floor blindly, grasping for her things, she began muttering…"Fine.
This is just great! This is the thanks I get? Nobody cares…why
would I expect anyone to care?! My own kids don't care about
me…my husband never cared…my own church family doesn't care
either, not really…otherwise I wouldn't be HERE. Why doesn't
someone want to help me? And where's Joy when I need her?
At just that moment an old
man walked by and stepped on Emma's hand. The pain shot
through, straight to her heart.
"HEY! OLD MAN! WATCH WHERE
YOU'RE GOING! HELLO! DON'T YOU SEE ME DOWN HERE, TRYING
TO FIND ALL THE STUFF THAT FLEW OUT OF MY PURSE WHEN THOSE
2 SORRY EXCUSES FOR LADIES KNOCKED ME FLAT…!"
Suddenly Emma felt herself
being lifted off the floor. She looked up into the evil
face of the door monitor.
"LIKE I SAID EARLIER!
THE ANGER ROOM IS DOWN THE HALL!"
With that, the door monitor
shoved Emma through the door and slammed it shut behind
her. Emma looked down at the empty purse in her hand --
her THROBBING hand! The contents were still in the Bitterness
Room! How dare him! She tried to go back in the room, but
the door was now locked. She kicked it soundly with her
Feeling nauseous, Emma turned
and slowly went down the hall toward The Anger Room…
Have you ever felt the sting
of bitterness -- that sick feeling of both regret and disgust
for what has happened? That nauseating feeling of injustice?
What exactly is The Bitterness
It is a sickly, unhealthy room
to be in -- thick with the germs and darkness of insensitivity,
self-centeredness, and growing anger. It is not a healing
room. It is an aging room. It is a place where sadness has
mostly melted away -- where tears have turned to stone as
the heart has begun looking for someone to blame -- anyone.
The heart privately begins
comparing itself to others. Looking around, it feels the
bitter sting of inadequacy, unfairness, and even dislike
for those who are having an easier time in life -- at least
for the moment.
Beware to anyone who gets in
the path of the bitter. He will become a victim of consequence
as the growing anger and feelings of injustice spew forth
uncontrollably and unannounced, spilling forever the contents
of all understanding, all mercy, all healing…
Have you ever been to The Bitterness
When our precious Thai son
left our home permanently at 13 years of age to live in
a facility, we were devastated. I remember looking at Ken
and saying, "There is nothing good about this situation.
Not one thing."
We felt the horrible sting
of losing a child -- yet with our child still living, and
going to live somewhere else. Our child was angry at us
-- and understandably so. He felt abandoned, "given-up",
rejected yet one more time in his life. As his mom, my heart
was breaking for him. But what could I do? The circumstances
were beyond our control -- beyond my control, and
nothing could be done about it. We had asked God to make
it all go away -- to heal our son.
Month after month, our son
couldn't, or wouldn't, control the self-destructive, raging
tendencies, and we were afraid -- for his life, and ours.
We felt helpless. There was
nothing left to do.
Many in our circle of friends
and family did not understand. They judged us unfairly.
Many of them had never seen any other side to our son except
a friendly, guarded side. Few believed us when we tried
to explain…many of them backed away from us, doubting us.
That really hurt. Then,
after the hurt began to pass, bitterness rose to the surface
of my heart.
"Why couldn't they just
believe us?!" my heart would seethe. "Do they
think we are lying? Why would they doubt us? Do they think
we would make this up??! Don't they know how painful this
I even held ill feelings against
those adoptive couples around us who were having great success
with their children.
"Why, Lord? Why us?!"
I would often ask. "What was wrong with us? Why couldn't
we make it work?"
During this time, I saw a friend
that I hadn't seen for awhile -- not since our son had left.
"Lygia?!" she inquired
when she first spotted me, looking deeply into my face.
"Lygia??! Is that you? Are you ok?"
I looked at her, startled, not sure what had shocked her
"Yes…why? What's wrong?"
"I have never seen you
looking so…old. You really look...awful! Are
you sick?! What's going on?"
Cautiously, I told her what
we'd recently been through. She listened, while looking
deeply into my eyes.
I watched as the tears escaped
her eyes. She put her arms around me. "You have truly
taken this to your heart," she said sympathetically.
"Girl, you've got to get this out of you, somehow.
You look like you've aged 10 years-in just a few months!"
Her words shocked me -- it
definitely wasn't what I wanted to hear…but I knew she was
Bitterness is a weight that
threatens to pull you down to the grave. And it definitely
had its grip on me.
That night, in the middle of
the night, I tossed and turned, and finally pushed myself
out of bed. I grabbed my Bible and went to lie on the couch.
My fingers found their way
to Psalm 119. My eyes fell on verse 25, and I just kept
reading, out loud, to the Father, voicing the psalm as my
My soul clings to the
dust; Revive me according to your Word…
My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your Word!
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and
revive me in Your way!
Revive me in Your righteousness.
…I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I love
…I will lift up my hands to Your commandments, which I love
I will meditate on Your statutes.
As the tears poured from my
eyes, the Father used them to wash away that unnatural aging,
those anger lines, that self-absorbed expression that had
forced its way into my face.
It's true -- His mercies ARE
new every morning, and even in the middle of the night.
The Bitterness Room.
Why do we choose to go there?
It is a choice, you know. The well-dressed man will definitely
point you there, but you don't have to go.
We are like Emma. We open the
door and enter, before we even realize what we've done.
Then, we're in.
But there is always a way of
if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.
And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond
what you can bear…
But when you are tempted…He will also provide a way out
so that you can stand up under it.
I Corinthians 10:12-13
Stay with us, as we follow
Emma's journey to The Anger Room, and beyond. Joy is just
around the corner…
© 2011. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights