Yesterday I attended a meeting for an organization that is a bright spot in an otherwise dark world. We gather once a month and discuss progressive ideas and work to effect positive change in the world around us. The meeting yesterday was painful and left me rather hurt.
You see, someone I respect deeply and consider one of the wisest people I know was hurt and angry. My friend gave me an extra helping of that anger. My friend’s pain was so deep that I could feel it. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot begin to imagine what my friend was feeling. I cannot relate to the lifetime of experiences my friend as had. But I do empathize with that pain and anger.
I still have my moments of “righteous anger“. I still lash out myself at those around me when I am not feeling my best or things appear to be falling apart. Correcting that a very high priority for me. But in the meantime, I try to take time to evaluate why I am angry.
Most of the time when I am angry, it is not with the people around me, but rather with myself. It is because I feel like I have failed or I am not good enough. Rarely it is because others have made me feel useless or unwanted. And even more rare, those times when I feel undervalued.
It is not a sin or a bad thing to get angry. Anger is a natural emotion. And we are human after all. Even Jesus got angry. He turned over tables and yelled at people. It is how we direct that anger that becomes the issue. If we are directing it toward the people around us who care about us, then we are making a mistake. If we take time to analyze that anger to determine its cause and then work to resolve those issues, then we have handled it correctly.
We will make mistakes sometimes and that is ok too. The key is to apologize as soon as we can and resolve to do better.
I am praying for my friend and I will be there should he want to talk about everything that happened. And I am thankful for all the people who have been there to help me pick up the pieces when I fell apart. When it is obvious that a person is working to overcome some issues that caused the angry outburst or situation, then we should stand by them and be there for them.
After all, there will come a day when you may need someone there to help you pick up your pieces too.