I got mad this week. Unpleasantly mad, uncivilized mad. I could feel it coming and twisting my mind into a mess of unreasonableness and my soul into a heap of disgusting desires to do mean things to people who neglected to conform to my narrow and oh-so-right ways. It was almost like I was standing beside myself and as I stewed about a situation and let myself get more agitated about it, blowing the implications into massive proportions in my mind, I could see the black cloud approach behind me, waft slowly to my side, linger for a bit to see if it was welcome, and as I fed my self-pity for the mountainous wrongs others had so carelessly tossed across my path, I saw my body turn slightly towards the cloud and step into its hungry path. I wasn’t going to let it stay long, just long enough to take a sweet moment of justice, long enough to make someone pay for their mistake by feeling my displeasure, just enough to satisfy the disappointment I felt and to abate the floundering feeling of being out of control. But once engaged, anger is a terrible and difficult thing to disentangle yourself from. You can’t just drop it like a hot potato. It wraps its strong tentacles around the same heart that loves fiercely and claims that fierceness as its slave.
As a child, I had struggles with anger that I thought I had put far behind me, and in reality I have, but somewhere, somehow, through a combination of circumstances and choices, I opened the door marked vindication a crack again, just to see if it felt better than mercy. It did not. It was ugly. I felt horrible. I yelled, “I’m mad and I hate it!” But hating it did not chase it away. The anger was a bitter undigested lump that refused to move through my bowels. Forgiveness seemed a million miles away and a thousand pounds heavy. I knew if I didn’t get rid of it quickly, it would leave a mark that I would have to carry for days. “Help!” I cried out to God. “Get this thing out of me!” And I heard one word float towards me and surround my mind like a halo: Peace. It knocked at my soul. Resentment and forgiveness rushed over to the door and sparred for possession of the door handle. I didn’t want any part of the fight for control which is how this whole thing started in the first place, so I just walked to the centre of my soul, knelt on the floor, and pulled the plug. I let it all go. I took my hands off “I was wronged” and watched it swirl down the drain along with the other black filth. The internal tirade had left the walls around me raw and red and stinging, but the blackness was gone. I went to the door, now unattended, and let peace in – no – I grabbed Peace and gave him a big hug and didn’t let go for a long time.
And I never plan on letting go again.