Anger Part II: Missed the Mark by a Mile
Anger still resides in my home today. This morning’s angry sky, a perfect illustration of the fire-filled awakening I feel burning deep within me still. Ever changing, ever growing. First receeding, then pushing through the darkness. Seeking escape, seeking solace, seeking a fight — all of it, all at once.
I tried to share this morning’s fire, but I couldn’t get anyone to move fast enough. By the time they got to the front door most of the magic had disappeared. As much as I would like to share my wonder and my awe, my journey is my own. I cannot share these moments, they are to be experienced in solitude.
I had thought to move forward to another of the “deadly sins” in the Words for Silence: A Year of Contemplative Meditations (Fr. Gregory Fruehwirth, OJN) today. But I’m afraid I have not yet moved on from the Anger. I re-read what Fr. Gregory had to say about John of the Cross and The Dark Night and the three areas of anger common to spiritual beginners:
“The first cause of anger represents John’s frequent concern with how we behave once we have lost all our initial delight in spiritual exercises. . .There are times in our lives of prayer when God appears to withdraw and we are left with only a sense of absence, or personal pettiness, or spiritual failure, or aridity and meaninglessness. Because our life is rooted in a more infantile desire to get what we crave. . .we often respond with a kind of childish testiness to all of life when the spiritual well dries up.
“Second, John sees beginners becoming angry with others for their sins. He says that when we are beginners we are likely to set ourselves up as ‘lords of virtue’ who are tempted to correct others aggressively.
“Finally, John sees beginners being so eager for perfection that they live in a constant state of anger with themselves for not being better. . .spiritual perfection is something they want for themselves and are upset when they can’t get it. This leads them to make all kinds of resolutions and yet fail to keep any of them and so get more angry.”
I am angry at God for not giving me what I want, I am angry at others for not being what I want, angry at myself for not being or doing what I want to be or do.
But just being able to LOOK at the anger in its many forms has cooled some of the heat of the fire. I think that I will allow myself to rest in that knowledge and understanding for yet another day. I think I will just look at my anger when it appears; perhaps I’ll categorize it, analyze it, maybe I’ll even pat it on the back and give it a warm smile of familiar pain and commiseration.
Just for today.