How Do You Handle Anger?

“Anger creates identity. Through it we are known.” The Voice of the Heart (Chip Dodd)

In my experience, anger has been destructive. Aside from two angry parents and a very angry brother, I’ve had my own struggles with anger. I’m a yeller. I have yelled at the sometimes deserving, like my husband, although he would probably disagree, and the undeserving, like a youngster. I have slammed doors and phones, pushed things off tables and desks, and blown the car horn probably beyond what was necessary. In the moment, I usually felt powerful and justified, but later I often felt much shame and guilt. So, through it all, to believe that anger is something to be treasured is like telling me the moon is really made of cheese.

Chip Dodd says that anger is a gift, probably one of the most important gifts we have: “In truth, anger is possibly the most important feeling we experience as emotional and spiritual beings because it is the first step to authentic living. It shows our yearning and hunger for life.”

Don’t gifts usually bring pleasure to others? I dare say that my anger has brought pleasure to anyone and most assuredly not to the giver: me. I have regretted angry outbursts…so much so that whatever I demanded be changed, I have recanted and gone back to living the scenario that made me angry in the first place or worse have been too quick to apologize.

So anger has been a rather frightening, troublesome emotion both as a receiver and a giver of this “important feeling.” I haven’t felt any real satisfaction in my “hunger for life” nor have I felt any closer to an “authentic self.” What about you? How do you handle anger in your life? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being really bothered by your own anger and 1 being not so much, where do you fall on this continuum and why?


Do You Wonder As You Wander?

“Outside almost any door, miracles abound. Yet do we stop and recognize them, capture them, embrace them, celebrate them? Or do we just
plow through, getting to the next dot on our connect-the-dots calendar?” Laurie Beth Jones

When I read this, I found the first sentence hard to believe. I find miracles in many things, sure. The sun dipping into the ocean during a
sunset leaves me speechless, for instance.
The sweet and unique fragrance of a mighty magnolia makes me stop whatever I’m doing outside and take notice. A centuries-old oak tree with its huge trunk and craggily branches spreading far and wide against a blue sky makes me think about its strength and history, but everyday life…most of the time I’m just trying to get through it.

Summer is here, finally. I adore spring and summer for not only are the days longer, but the fruit and vegetables are scrumptious. Recently, I had the best corn-on-the-cob I’ve had in a year. Sinking my teeth into the cob, its little kernels popped with juiciness. We cut a fresh pineapple today and its fruit was alive with sweetness. Summer with all its bounty is enjoyable and welcomed, but it brings with it drought, both literally and figuratively.

I’m in education, so all means of employment stops or dwindles to a slow, steady drip. Looking for other work requires joining the ranks of fellow high-schoolers, which is degrading on two counts: salary and the age gap. Time on my hands brings boredom and boredom brings a robotic movement through life, pausing only for summer events, like vacations and family get-togethers. Every day is a sort of Groundhog Day, with one day oozing into the next and the next. There’s no wonder in any of this only low expectations.

So maybe I’m a glass-half-empty kind of person. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say, for I come from a long line of glass-half-empties, but seeing each day with hope and wonder seems impossible. “You should be grateful,” you’re probably saying, and I am. I’m grateful for my health—extremely grateful. I’m grateful for the people who love me, and I’m grateful for my Lord, who keeps me in His embrace when life squeezes too hard, but to see wonder or miracles in the everyday? That’s a tough one.

So how do you do it? How do you see wonder in your daily life?