Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Loving Anger

Where does all the anger come from? Scratch the surface of, "the problem with him or her," to hit the mother lode. The source of the anger can often be explained in great detail, I've been there. In response to the minutiae of fault, cause, and problem pontificating, I got either the blank stare or the agreeable, "Oh yeah!" Turns out the blank stare was more beneficial because of its incongruence with my expectations. It sat in my craw and stewed for a long time.

Being a stranger in a strange land has kept me immune from the anger dump prevailing on the home shores. The Japanese manners might mean you eat your own anger, may also be the reason the screaming vase was invented there, but it does means that anger is not randomly dumped on the unsuspecting. When offloading anger stands for conversation, I'm on terra firma, but it's time to reconsider.

I get easily frustrated with things that don't work and people who don't get my ideas. Thanks to fraudulent charges, our credit cards were cancelled. We're also traveling, living in two countries, and trying to set up the next phase of our lives. I need to update the billing information for our account in Japan. However, the Japanese phone company has only one way to update information, and it's in Japanese. I was testy on the phone with the translator and customer representative while they were civil. It was one in the morning for me and there are a few beyond the everyday events in our stress bubble, but I was disappointed with myself for swooping so easily into the, "I'm mad as hell! You idiots need to fix this" mode. My reflection afterward harkens back to my dislike of sucking up all the anger brimming and floating in the world when I have to be the face of calm to someone either in a business or a personal relationship. I dislike it when it falls to me to manage the others anger, I can barely manage myself. Sometimes it's not our fault but there the anger sits anyway.

The answer none of us want to hear, the fine print, when it comes to finding a solution to anger? It resides in this, "Love your neighbor as yourself," (Mark 12:31) which takes care of most problems in life. However, in random moments of the day, anger prevails, takes over. This is a sign of where there is work to be done.

We can fillet, finesse, and catalog our innocence until the cows come home, but this only preserves and justifies the anger we hold. With a ready source of anger, one can easily fall into its tangle and lose sight of the way clear. Keeping anger stoked or stocked like a bottle on the shelf means it has to be fed and tended.

Choose to feed, tend, and spend energy on anger, and it perpetuates into perpetuity. A whole life can be lived fueled by anger, "I'll show you!" "That's mine!" Time may pass, but anger festers and gets uglier and uglier even as we push it deeper. It doesn't hide, anger lurks.

Focusing on the what, how, and why might help us solve some problems in life, but when it comes to anger it's not as beneficial as you might expect. We often identify the source, "Stupid fill-in-the-blank!" "My valuable time, WASTED!" "You never loved me!"

It all goes back to love. Even if we did and do love them, what matters is they can't feel it. We need to amplify, turn up the love, and crank the volume. Or we can scream into a jar and get pissed all over again tomorrow. Or we can yell and curse at everyone at home or in our path and wonder why everyone avoids us. Or we can put it on a shelf and carefully control ourselves most of the time.

Or we can let go of it! Let go of anger and sink into peace, but you have to be willing to love. Love like a river, like water flowing-- true to itself, following it's own journey, nurturing every life that comes to it, predator and prey alike.

You can't choose who you get to be angry with, that's why it pops up like a flare and scares you. You can't choose who you get to love-- you get the mom you get, you get the dad you get, and you get children who marry other people. They are all FLAWED and make mistakes, you and me too. You have to love them anyway.

Anger is screaming for love and attention. Just give in and out love the angry. It's the only antidote. Love them anyway and you'll be better, not bitter, for it.

Japanese Shouting Vase