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I have to admit that this one really speaks to me.  I have a friend who suffers from clinical depression.

I know that some people don’t appreciate that wording — suffer from clinical depression — but I choose it very deliberately.  Someone who has clinical depression suffers with it.  But so do the people around them. We think of depression as something that makes a person quiet and withdrawn.  But that’s often not the case with women who are clinically depressed.  They are angry. They strike out.  They create a great deal of discord.

And if that isn’t bad enough, they seem to relish it.  “Look at the reaction I got from her!”

Whether you are in the orbit of someone who has depression or anger issues or something else altogether, it is easy to lose touch with your inner peace.  It gets submerged in the fury of emotions and hurts.

To regain this peace, spend some quiet time with God.  Take a deep breath and let it out.  Then take another.

As you breathe in, picture God’s light filling your heart.  As you breathe out, imagine turmoil flowing out and away.  In comes peace.  Out flows anger.

Peace doesn’t come easily.  You have to seek it out.

–SueBE

It is so easy to let people get under your skin.  So easy.  Especially when someone is being hateful and unreasonable.

But the moment you let them anger you, you give them space. They take up residence in your head, in your heart, and, ultimately, in your soul.

Not that I’m saying you should let them get by with hate, hateful words, and hateful actions.  By all means, shut them down.  But don’t focus on them.  Focus instead on the injured and the insulted.  Pull them up, dust them off, and send them on their way with a healthy helping of Christ’s love.  How much better than letting them sully your soul.

Now if only I could remember to put this into action.

–SueBE

To conquer the anger within and without.

I’m angry. Cartoon angry: steam is coming out of my ears. My face is a hue somewhere between “beet” and “red hot lava.” Though I’ve never used my fists in anger in my life, I feel as though I could break a stack of bricks, like one of those amazing karate videos you see on YouTube. Yeah, THAT angry.

Why? Several reasons. My good friend (and fellow blogger) SueBE has written a book for young people (called “Black Lives Matter”) that is being denounced by people who have neither read it nor have any idea what it purports to say. Ignorant people. Close-minded people. The kind of people I have had it up to here (gestures) with. “It says the author writes historical nonfiction for children. So glad to see she’s branched out into fiction,” sniffs one commenter. The enormity of the wrong-headedness of this person (and her ilk) could blot out the sun.

Throw in the recent deaths of a news reporter and camera man by yet another deranged guy with a gun (we seem to have an endless supply of them in this country), tragedies that ought to be met with renewed resolve to do something about the matter, but are instead already raising the hackles of the NRA-faithful in a deafening roar that somehow makes the words “second amendment” louder than “people bleeding to death on the sidewalk.” I get it. YOU didn’t kill anyone; that guy did. And that guy. Oh, and that other guy. And her. And them. And that person and that person and that person…. Seriously, am I the only one who sees a pattern here?

I give myself permission to be angry. God made our emotions; there are no wrong ones. It’s what we do with them that matters. In a song by PIL, John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) sings, “Anger is an energy.” That’s the powerful side of anger, the side that gets things done. Instead of taking my anger out on hapless individuals (like that guy did), I prefer to channel it into something more constructive.

I’m going to do everything I can to champion my friend and her work and the content of that work. I will continue to push for (and vote for) gun control. I will get angry when and where I need to in support of social justice for everybody, including those so blinded to their own privilege, they can’t even discern that this privilege does not extend to anyone beyond the reach of their own fingertips.

And I am going to pray. Oh, Lord, I’m going to rent the heavens. God, make us all angry — angry enough to decide to stop hurting one another once and for all. Because a prayer like that demands energy. And if it has to come from anger, so be it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about anger these days. I know I’m angry, but like many women, I was never trained to identify or express it. We women tend to sublimate our anger, or turn it into passive-aggressive behavior. But never, never do we openly deal with it. It’s dangerous. And ugly.

I continue to reassure myself that I am not angry at God. How could anyone be angry at God? Sure, maybe you’ve been wandering in the desert for 40 years, nonstop. But who gives you manna to eat and water to drink? Who is leading you to the Promised Land? You do not want to jeopardize that covenant. Being angry at God is the worst, worst thing you can do.

I am terrified at the prospect of losing God’s love, and being angry at someone is a sure way to lose their love…at least that’s what I believe. Again, I’m not alone here. Lots of us of the double-X persuasion are afraid to express anger lest we lose the love of another. I am also keenly aware of how fortunate I am, how much I have in my life. I have no right to feel a lack. If I am lacking, it is surely because of my own choices, my own bad judgment. It has nothing to do with God, who is all love and all goodness.

I know all this. I know it. And yet, somewhere in my brain, a white-hot spark is tormenting me. I’m angry, furious, even. But not at God. I won’t allow myself to think it, let alone believe it. And so it keeps on smoldering. No amount of rational, reasoned argument or pure, abiding faith will extinguish it. So what can I do?

I thought my life was going to mean something, and it doesn’t. I have prayed for direction, yet I still have none. I used to be a wunderkind; now I am nothing. My life is adding up to nothing. And I’m angry.

But not at God. I just…can’t.

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