"I Am Burning With Anger"

'Fire 1' photo (c) 2005, Pete Coleman - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Welcome to my therapy session.

I don't think the title of this post is hyperbole.

All of the potential descriptions seem appropriate today. 

"Very angry" doesn't seem to do it. 

I'm SEETHING WITH ANGER.  My spirit is disquieted within me.  I had difficulty getting to sleep last night...and then after I got up in the middle of the night as I am wont to do. This morning as I lay in bed "seething" seemed like a pretty good description.

My HEART IS POUNDING.  Even as I try to calmly reflect on my emotions in a blog post I recognize that I'm tense and my body is viscerally aware of the anger.

I WANT TO LASH OUT.  I won't.  It's frankly not in my nature.  Not since a Jr. High when my friends were picked on on the playground have I actually lashed out at someone.  But, that's not to say I don't want to at times.  I remember some 10 years ago on Alyeska Ski Mountain when my son was learning to ski with me, he had fallen down as he was still learning.  Some snowboarders (nothing against snowboarders as a group) came by and "swished" snow in his face while he was on the ground.  It was on purpose and was accompanied with laughter.  I could feel my blood immediately boil and I wanted to go chase after the teenagers on my skis and pummel with my ski poles.  I remember how I felt watching my son get harassed and I also remember realizing that the chances of actually catching the snowboarders was slim and the chances of anything good coming out of it nil.  But I remember wanting to lash out.  I want to lash now.

I AM APOPLECTIC. Not in the stroke-related way, but in the so furious you can't see straight kind of way.

I AM OVERCOME WITH ANGER.  One of the tasks this week for a small group I'm part of is to try to be fully present with the persons we're present with.  That means trying to give persons the attention they deserve, trying to really listen, trying to really care, trying to really offer ourselves to those we meet.  My anger is making this nigh impossible, even within my own family.  I noticed this yesterday driving in the car.  One of my teenage daughters was with me and she was telling me all about her day and I realized I heard nothing...absolutely nothing.  I could only focus on the situation at hand and my feelings.  I could not be present with her.

And I know it's not a good place to be.

I know it's not a healthy place to be.

And yet here I am.

I even went to the Scriptures and tried to find verses that talked of the righteous anger of God...because, after all, my own anger must be a righteous one...right?

Isaiah 5:25:

Therefore the LORD's anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

And there are such fun Psalms when one is angry. 

Take Psalm 21 for instance, verses 8-13:

Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you. You will make them like a fiery furnace when you appear. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them. You will destroy their offspring from the earth, and their children from among humankind. If they plan evil against you, if they devise mischief, they will not succeed. For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows. Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power. 

But then I read the words of Romans 12:19 and have to reassess:

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the LORD.

So, you might ask, what is it that has gotten me this angry?

I can't really say.

But the only thing that gets me this angry is when someone I love is hurt...kind of like the snow swished in my son's face ten years ago...kind of like my friends on the playground being picked on.  I let most things roll off my back. I'm an easygoing guy. I hate...really hate...to see ones I love hurt by people just being mean.

Sarah Palin, our ex-governor of Alaska, made the phrase "mama grizzly" part of the political lexicon starting in 2008 as she talked about a grizzly mom rearing up on her hind legs to defend her young as she believed she needed to defend her own children by what she claimed to be unfair media attention.  I'm not sure the "mama grizzly" fits for me...especially the "mama" part.  But I can understand that desire to defend...the anger, the instinct, the protectiveness, that it represents.

Suffice it to say, someone I love has been hurt and I'm angry about it.  Unlike the skiing incident, this isn't just a "hit and run" but is, shall we say, more complicated.  It's a process.  That makes it more difficult.  And making it even more difficult is the fact that this is a very busy time for our family with my wife student teaching on top of her regular job.  It's very long days for her as life tries to go on for everyone else as well.

I'm sure this has been completely unhelpful for many of our friends who now read this and wonder what it's all about and wonder how they can help.  Well, you can't know at this point. That's just the way it is. Some persons are aware and I/We have felt the love. However, the details aren't for general consumption.

But you can know that I'm angry. 

And you can know that it's important for me to try to be open an honest with my friends because I welcome their care and support and that this is a way for me to seek some of that. This is in spite of the fact that I have to be vague about it. Part of this is about being honest with God and honest with myself as well...recognizing where I am, emotionally.

And you can know that offering a prayer or two for strength that we get through this difficulty would be appreciated. 

And you can know that another prayer or two for some peace to enter into the anger would be appreciated as well.

And know that writing about it has me feel better.  I think that's important, too. I feel better having put it down.