Is it possible that through what comes out of your mouth, what you have done or the way you act based on your thought processes that you have become a hazard to those around you?
Why do I ask this?
A couple of weeks ago I got really angry. Somebody was being treated unfairly and because I loved this person and felt powerless to stop the unfairness I became angry. It is so long since I have felt this fury within me that I didn’t know what to do with it.
On reflection, I remember what I used to do but that is with hindsight. And lots of notes to myself:
Go for a run
Play rugby or football
Get physical but not personal
Kneading dough, baking bread is one of the most satisfying occupations, in the UK, in some churches they have bread making classes as an outreach. This is not just about all the scripture we can talk about whilst baking bread but in the making of the bread therapeutic bashing is allowed. In my past life many an actual skull has been saved by thumping a piece of dough.
Physical activity of any kind has brought me from angry to accomplished. There is nothing quite like reaching the top of Torc, or getting through a gruelling football training session to get rid of all vilent anger.
Weeding in the garden, that sense of satisfaction when each weed is brutally killed, or spring cleaning a room or an entire house.
All of these activities expend energy and breathing becomes laboured, deep lung filling breathing and with each breath the anger dissipates a little.
But I had forgotten all of these. And I was angry. Knowing you are angry but also knowing your thoughts, words and deeds must be well seasoned. I suddenly understood what someone once told me about Christians and depression. We are taught not to be angry, we are encouraged to live in faith and the fruit of the Spirit are evidence seen in our lives.
Anger is not a fruit of the Spirit. Therefore should we have it? Well yes, anger is a human emotion but what we do with it that sets us apart. So I stopped talking as much, one word where ten or twenty would have been there. The number of times I had to turn immediately back to people and say I was sorry, it was not them, I didn’t mean what I said or I did mean it but not so vociferously.
So there I was a person who people consider mature, acting like a child, but knowing it was wrong and saying sorry a lot. I had a dream in the middle of this chaos, involving death, family and letting go or cosseting. I let go of my anger, I gave it to Jesus to look after for me for a while. He took my toxicity and made me healthy again.
When a tree is damaged either by some kind of disease or weather conditions it becomes a hazard. There is no accounting for which trees will be hazards and which will continue to thrive. Really old trees with massive root systems have been floored in Kerry during our recent storms. Whole rows of poplars have gone but in some rows only a few were floored.
Did I ever feel like walking away from God in my anger? No
Did I ever ask him “why me” “why now” ? Yes, many times
Did He answer? Yes
The problem is that us, like trees form a web of roots that weave in and out with others roots. Trees only have a few roots that travel down, most travel outwards forming close knit ties with the next tree. And that’s how some trees are felled. One toxic tree falls and brings others down.
One toxically angry person (me) infects those around me. The problem, the thing that made me seethe in anger has not gone, but my perspective is restored and the anger has dissipated into the ether.
Finally, just like RTE says, “if you have been affected by anything in the above passage there is a number you can call. In other words if I have snapped at you in the last week or so, I sincerely from the bottom of my heart, apologise.”