Donate to our COVID-19 Fund

Help us support our caregivers who serve the elderly and medically fragile in our community and are suffering financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Flying Off The Handle

By Chaplain George Nix

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

– James 1:19


Did you ever wonder where the expression “flying off the handle” came from?  It is first found in Thomas C. Haliburton’s The Attaché; or, Sam Slick in England, 1843:  “He flies right off the handle for nothing.” explains:  “… the allusion is to that of an ax flying off its handle. Imagine if you were cutting a tree with an ax, and the metal part of the ax suddenly flew off the handle. It would happen very quickly and be very dangerous.”

What if I get my ax ready to chop down a tree, and I spend hours meticulously sharpening the ax, and I forget to make sure it’s firmly attached? Yes, you guessed it. It’s “an accident waiting to happen.”

I raise the ax in the air, and summoning my strength I take a swing, but all that hits the tree is the wooden handle. The sharp metal part is zooming towards a window. I turn to react, but it’s too late.

And so it is with our reactions… If I only work on knowledge in my life, and I’m not grounded, at peace with God and my lot in life, I won’t be ready to react right. It’s a matter of preparation. Deciding in advance a plan of action.  I resolve to listen first. Take a deep breath, think and pray. Then… I will speak.  Hopefully the ax will stay in one piece!

George Nix

Chaplain George Nix was born in Chicago, Illinois. He has been a Chaplain with PruittHealth Hospice in Rome, Georgia since 2010.

Recent Devotionals

My Hope and My Trust

By Chaplain James Guthrie, D. Min As for me, I will always have hope; I ...
Read More

Come Unto Me

By Chaplain Thomas Meade Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, ...
Read More

The Final Act

By Chaplain George Nix Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, ...
Read More
Scroll to Top