I did learn something...if you want to grieve well, some things just can't be avoided.
I do not like anger. In fact, I detest it. I don't like being angry. Angry people scare me. Growing up, we had two of Tim LaHaye's books grace our shelves at home. These are books before the "Left Behind" series. I think they were called, "Emotions, can you trust them?" and "Anger is a Choice".
I don't think I ever read them, but from what I gathered through talking about/skimming them, my immature, pre adolescent mind came to the following conclusion:
If you are/get angry, it is a sign of character weakness and you are flawed and should be pitied.
I have held onto that idea for the majority of my life, although I would scarcely ever say it out loud. Growing up I had this awesome friend that I'd hang out with lots, her parents were awesome too, but they fought and were mad much of the time. I just couldn't wrap my mind around that. Why couldn't these lovely people keep it together? What emotional misfortune had been thrust upon them to give them the inability to control their emotions?
I struggled with the story of Jesus overturning the tables in the temple too. All I could think of was what a mess he made and if I was his Mother I would have made him clean it up and apologize. Which led to my skepticism around Jesus being being sinless. How could he be sinless, he got mad?
Yes, I realize the error of my ways. But it has shaped me.
I've now had three critical incidents in my life which I refer to.
1. My Dad dying of pancreatic cancer when he was just 70.
2. My first husband leaving.
3. Being laid off from a job I loved.
My anger around the loss of my Dad was directed the most at my Mom. We've never had a touchy/feely relationship. She raised me in a "spare the rod, spoil the child" kind of way and it affected how I relate to her, and in turn, how I parent my kids. After Dad died, we had a good couple of years where anything that the other person did (right down to washing the windows) was met with fury. It took me a long time to figure out that those very strong emotions was us dealing with our grief. Nasty.
When my Kid's Dad left, I did get mad. Righteously so. I won't tell you how I expressed that anger, but Ladies, if you ever need "Scorned Woman" resources, let me know. I think the fact that I did engage in activities that expressed how I was feeling was therapeutic for me and probably one of the most helpful parts of my grieving process. Actually, I will tell you one very helpful thing I did was take a Women's Self Defense course. Even though it had nothing to do with grief, being able to practice yelling and screaming and beating someone over the head with foam (sorry, Mike Kendell) was fantastic. I felt euphoric afterwards.
And now this. I had hoped that I had risen above this part of the grieving process, but not so. Things were going pretty well until the last couple of weeks. Not a day has gone by for the past two weeks where I haven't run into someone from church. Go out for supper? There they are. Answer the phone? They're calling. Get a text? It's them. Go on Facebook? There's a message from them. And the message is always the same. "We love you, we miss you and we are so upset that this has happened".
And that message is fantastic. It humbles me. It blesses me. It overwhelms me. It makes me cry.
And it makes me mad. I think if I didn't love the people so much, it would be much easier. If the people didn't love me, maybe I could accept it.
Why was I taken out of a situation where I loved and was loved? It makes no sense.
I can maybe understand it in a platitude-y "all things work together" sort of way, if you're going to remind me of that, don't bother. I know that already.
But going back to my original thought - I strongly dislike being angry. And what would my guy, Richard Rohr say? He has a devo in his book, "On the Threshold of Transformation" about anger. Here are two thoughts:
"Anger is a necessary and telling emotion long before it is any kind of sin." - good point
"Feel anger, learn what it has to tell you; but do not identify with it or it will kill you" - from Eph. 4:26-27
So that's where I sit. That's what I feel. I want to tell you that now that I've had this rant I feel so much better and likely won't feel another negative emotion for a few years, but I'm learning to know better.
If I'm going to grieve well, winter well, so spring can come, some things just can't be avoided.