Posts Tagged ‘Anger

03
Apr
10

lessons in grieving

Today marks one week post Bettina’s memorial service, and five weeks since her death. I should have written about the memorial service last week but couldn’t. It really was beautiful, just as I’d imagined in my March 22nd posting, 2 weeks later. In fact, much more beautiful than I’d expected, but just as heart-wrenching. My dear old friend (DOF) flew in from New Mexico to dance to, Who has Known (the mind of God…), and that was sheer blessing. From now on I will no longer refer to her as dear old friend, even though she is my oldest  and closest friend. She is a dancer inside and out even though her best dancing days are behind her. I will now call this person the Dancing Queen in this blog: DQ. (Do not confuse with Dairy Queen, please.)

The memorial was truly worshipful and I know Adopted Daughter, Bettina was there enjoying every minute. The next day was Passion Sunday and our church did a deeply  moving version of the Stations of the Cross. It was so deeply moving that I became just as deeply depressed. Up until then I was busy with so many things to do, then suddenly it was all over. DQ went on to visit daughters and grandchildren. The house resoundingly empty…silent…like it had been the minute the oxygen machine was turned off.

My heart cried out: “Where did everybody go?” I knew I could phone one or two friends, but also knew everyone was tired and busy getting on with their lives. It had been a very intense weekend. Big Dawg and I were unable to address each other’s needs. She went out feeling confused and helpless. My chief fear—abandonment—had been touched. I was alone with emotions too deep for words…too painful for comforting. I sank to the floor with emotion only anger can express. I was uncontrollably angry about many things. I yelled everything I had at God until there was nothing left to feel. Then I stopped yelling and stopped crying and waited. I felt remorse. BD and I would get through this. We would turn the page, start a new chapter. I just didn’t know when or how. Bedtime came soon and I prayed for help toward a better day.

The next day was dark and dreary. I was very depressed. Empress Bird called to check on me and we talked for a long time. Poor Empress. I did put her through some arduous paces. The day was craggy and disjointed. Nothing made much sense to me. My dear friend, Deeply Thinking, was coming that evening to help me start a new project—one that Bettina had supported wholeheartedly. The meatloaf I’d prepared that morning for our evening’s supper never made it into the refrigerator. When I saw it sitting there on the counter at 4:00, I panicked and the depression-fueled feelings of failure took over. What to do? Cancel? Couldn’t do that because I knew I’d feel worse. Tearfully, I took something out of the freezer, all the while wondering, who am I…who am I turning into? The doorbell rang. DT stood outside the door smiling. I said I was in a terrible mood…very unpleasant…not a nice person, etc., come at your own risk. He came in, took his shoes off and prepared to meet the monster I felt I’d become.

While we were all in the kitchen, I managed to burn my hand on the oven rack and proceeded to have yet another melt-down. DT is very cool. Whatever phases him does not manifest quickly. BD suggested we to go down to the studio and get started while she put dinner together. We did, and sat down in front of the computer. I proceeded to deliver an intense monologue about what a really nasty person I was and all of the unpleasant, unloving things I felt. Again, DT listened with barely a muscle moving on his face…no judgment issuing forth, no advice-giving and no insights. I appreciated that began the slow rise to the surface. I love this DT and I know it is returned: Grace.

Dinner went well and we got a good start on the project. Grace flowed. I had a few hours of light gray to off-white and then it was time for bed and another prayer for help, this time intercessory prayer as well.

To be continued.

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21
Aug
09

tending relationships with love and humility

My last blog post created a bit of a stir, mostly off site, I am pleased to say. I feel the need to state clearly that while there are many blogging styles and purposes, mine is 75% open journal sharing of my thoughts and experiences in the 7th decade of my curious life. The remaining 25% is whatever crosses my path that I think might be of interest to others. I am not out to create controversy,  show off to the world or hurt my friends, but sometimes it seems inevitable that someone will be offended by my views. Richard Rohr has occasionally used the term Receiving Stations, in reference to the way we receive information (whatever it’s origin or content) through the channels of our particular personal views and life experiences.  Important fact to remember for communicating with others: Receiving Stations are as important as Sending Stations. What is sent may not be received clearly. There could be static on the line, or perhaps some other type of interference.  So, as a blogger I must be clear that what I am publishing is the truth as I have experienced it; I must own past and present views as my own…and I do. When I write about  experiences that include others, I try to do so with anonymity for them. Even so, there is always the chance that someone will find offense that I do not intend. Sometimes it’s the receiving station on the blink…sometimes it’s me, the sending station. The thing is, you bloggers out there, if you are writing about your own views, reflections, and experiences with respect for others, then you are okay, until or unless someone shows you differently.

One of my friends left a comment about tending relationships with love and humility. What about this? As Christ followers (or people of spiritual conviction), how is this done without occasionally stepping on a size-able twig and hearing it snap back? And what if the twig was never really there at all, but only there in the receiving station friend? What if what one has said, or written is true, but perceived by another not as intended, and that person (one’s friend), sustains offense? What next? Matthew 18:15-20 has always been the model for me, but the success of it seems to rely largely on each participant believing in its form and value.

I have tried on the humility of apology for love’s sake—Jesus sake. When the result has been reconciling, I’ve been glad to do it (maybe even a bit too proud?), but when the problem is so large that it becomes chasmic, I find I do not yet possess the quality of humility required to absorb in love rather than a more familiar ploy of escalating my effort to explain into a win/win ending. In short, I become defensive. This is much more likely to be the case for me  in relation to some Enneagram types than others. Nonetheless, it is a problem:  do I fall on my sword, continue explanations ad infinitum, or resort to the defensive posture I’ve known all my life?

Well, here’s the thing:  my defensive posture covers anger, which in turn covers hurt. Some will say that no one can make you feel hurt unless you give them that power. Of course I don’t buy that. Been there, done that, and have a few scars to show. I’m in my 7th decade. I was out there trying this, that and the other before some of my dear friends were even born. There is just enough truth in this paradigm to be dangerous to most of us common folk. What really happens when we sustain a sense of wounding/hurt—if true,  we have the option of being truthful about it and possibly receiving an apology. If untrue, we can respond as though it were true,  and avoid a falling out. Or we can yank out our trusty defense responses and gear up for battle…the first one to wobble loses… Then again…we can take whatever spiritual path is common to our belief system and work toward its promised conclusion. As a Christ follower, my professed choice is, of course the Matthew 18 pattern of resolution, that failing, my choice defaults to a descending order of  first setting aside the defense measures that cover my anger, then setting my mind to letting go of the anger (which so perfectly covers my hurt and/or humiliation), and sitting with that while God watches that the waters of mourning climb high enough to transform, but not overwhelm me.

Just so you don’t think I am whistling Dixie while the bullets fly…  This is very hard for me to do. Let me say this again in another way: allowing the painful place to lie uncovered…open to the wind and rain is extremely difficult to do. I think the only reason I can occasionally come anywhere near close to this is because I am old enough to know that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain in the end. By everything I mean Spiritual Transformation/Wholeness…Peace…Shalom.

So this is my summary answer to the self-help therapists responsible for the popular notion that by not acknowledging hurt received, the responsible party is not endowed with enough power to grow his/her power garden. If I follow your counsel I risk losing my ability to feel as well as think. And I so appreciate that right brain gift of the Magae: feeling, and especially the transformation thing. Now that is really something!

08
Aug
09

mince meat or death?

There are times in one’s life when deciding what is most important, then triaging or shelving the rest, is important business. In times of crisis this is a relatively simple matter. After all which is most to be savored, life or death? Then there are times when even  eating, sleeping and bathroom business are beyond one’s control. Of course, some would say that we humans don’t really have control over anything at all. As a Christ-centered person, I live in a state of grace 24/7. Many of the things I think I have control over are really things in which I merely have investment and/or influence. Control? No, my house is still unsold; I cannot fix the cracks in the congregation I had to leave; nor can I fix the broken heart my partner has because of this, as well as a few additional afflictions.

We are both maxed out in those areas of life that are beyond control. That is why I chose to take  the anger that under laid my depression and digestive unrest to God, where it exploded like a Roman Candle, and then fizzled out from lack of currency. There was no point. I knew that, so I let go of what I was holding and chose to go forward into the days I am given. Does the anger come back? Yes, it tries to, but I am triaging for life now. See, I spent the summer 3 years ago, dying from advanced, stage 4, non-Hodgkin lymphoma. I also watched my sister die of this disease last year. I am not afraid to die, but I don’t want to do it before I’ve had time to complete the task God and I are collaborating on: Making my life of many errors meaningful for others.

I receive maintenance Rituxan treatments on a 12 week cycle. These prolong the most dangerous part of my remission, but they also lower my immune system and generally leave me in a state of malaise for anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks afterward. Not fun! I complained to my primary care doctor that oncology was making mince meat out of me—a 92 lb,  golden years lady. His response to me was something like this: Yes, the way they look at things…it’s either mince meat or death! Because stress has a deleterious effect on the immune system (mine is not that great) I am using this as a rule of thumb. Is the expensive grill out on the deck that we can’t get the company to take care of worth my life? No is the obvious answer, right? Of course! So it’s mince meat or death. I’m going for mince meat!

Ginko leaves




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