Friday, November 27, 2009

Time to Post on my Quarterly Blog

My husband gives me a hard time for not posting on my blog more frequently. I tell him that it's a quarterly blog, easing the pressure of having to post regularly. Sometimes life gets to be too much. A simple post starts to feel like a chore. Work, a baby, a house, a dissertation that is getting published, my son's NF 1 and imminent brain and skull/eye-socket surgery, mounting medical bills--who am I to sit in front of a computer and pour out thoughts on this or that? Yet here it goes.

The topic for this quarterly blog is anger, my own that is. I've been reading two excellent books, one called The Anger Trap, the other called Facing Anger. I must admit that I've been reluctant to read on this topic. It's just too close to home. Ever since I was a little girl, I've struggled with carrying a lot of anger. I recall sitting in my bedroom closet with my diary as a young child. I would press my pencil hard to the page and write "I'M SO ANGRY" over and over. Then I would lock my diary and hide the key. In reality I was trying to hide my anger. A fair amount of shame accompanied my anger because anger felt so wrong.

Then my anger diminished naturally later on as I grew in my faith during those years in Bible school. In faith, I read St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, Hildegard of Bingen, Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton. In faith, these human beings inspired me to get closer to God, to go all out and live for Jesus. Then, as often happens, life's circumstances became a stumbling block. Ever since, I've been a firecracker with a short fuse ready to launch at any little thing; faith became a struggle.

It has been over several years now. That is a long time. The distance I have felt with God has to do with believing that God and anger cannot exist in the same space. I have been unable to free myself from being angry ever since going through a terrible experience. As a result, I have felt unworthy as a believer. These books have given me a fresh perspective on my anger. Feelings of being weak, disempowered, and loss of control have fueled my anger in hopes of restoring strength, power, security. What an illusion, like laying in a box and being sawed in half.

Anger is something that we as human beings must contend with. It manifests itself in different forms for every person. For me, it has not been enough to read that part in Scripture where it says, "Be angry, but do not sin." The Anger Trap and Facing Anger offer insights into owning and managing anger. My own breakthroughs with anger occur when I have the courage to be vulnerable and share. This helps me to shift my interpretation of what happened. It also helps to have a supportive husband who helps me distinguish what happened versus what I made it mean. What grace.