I Just Want to be Mad for a While
Some claim I’m crazy. I really can’t argue with them. I rode 4000 miles across America by myself on a horse. On the eve of my second wedding night—yep married and divorced, twice—I slept in a ditch. Then one night, this past week, I slept in my pickup truck at a truck stop. I don’t tell you all this to confirm the crazy notion, but rather to let you know anger affects your life. And sometimes it ain’t pretty.
When I took off and rode my horse from San Diego to Maryland, four years ago, I was angry. Oh my lord, I was mad as hell at God. He stole my little boy Sammy. My 10-year old son was crushed beneath the wheels of a trailer hauling a five-ton tractor. As a parent, I faced my worst nightmare. As a mother, my heart was ripped out and I ached for my little boy. As a nutcase, I rode and rode and rode and rode. And healed.
The love that I had for my little boy Sam bottlenecked in my soul when he died. There was no where for it to go. Stopped up. The love turned to anger and began to fester and eat away at me like a maggot on an open wound. And I hurt. There was nothing left of me to give to my children, my family, or myself.
As I packed up and headed out on that long journey, I thought, “What more could God do to me? Bring it on.” Little did I know all that He had in store. That’s a whole ‘nother story, but in the process of riding and caring for my horses, in meeting strangers that welcomed and embraced me, in sleeping with the Navajos who taught me how to believe again, I let me anger go. Step by step by step. And with every step, with every day, the anger toward God was released. I learned to live again, laugh again and love again. But if it wasn’t for that release, of letting the anger go, on that long soulful journey, I wouldn’t be here today. Thank God, He had something more in store for me.
As to my wedding night, I went kicking and screaming down the isle. Nope. Didn’t want to do it. Oh don’t get me wrong, I had a choice, but I never thought my ex would go through with it, after all I wouldn’t sign the pre-nup. My gamble didn’t pay off, however. Two days before the wedding, he agreed to no pre-nup and I had to honor my word.
I knew the marriage was wrong from the get-go, but I didn’t honor myself. And I didn’t have the courage to call it off, hoping that the pre-nup was my ace in the hole. How wrong I was. How sad for all. And anger started working overtime. By the end of the second night of my honeymoon, I was sleeping in a ditch as I began to walk away from my marriage, angry and hurt at him, at myself, at my plight by choice.
But I didn’t get that then. It was all a choice. Choices I made. Choices I didn’t make. But hard fought lessons were learned. Or so I had hoped.
The Truck Stop
Two years ago I met a terrific guy. We bought a house and have been living together for the past year. But old issues surface and it’s hard to keep those feelings at bay. Anger takes over, lessons learned fall by the wayside and I end up in my pick up truck sleeping at a truck stop to process, to think or perhaps to leave. But I didn’t leave.
As Kim Olver, a life and relationship coach states in her article How to Stay Calm Instead of Losing Your Cool , “When you use anger, it is not responsible because anger almost always interferes with the other person getting his or her needs met. You definitely have not only the right, but also the responsibility to get your needs met but not at the expense of someone else.
Underlying most reasons for choosing anger, you are probably attempting to improve an important relationship in your life. Anger will never work to do that. You may get the initial satisfaction of getting the other person to do your bidding, but you have damaged something in the relationship.
You must make a proactive plan about what you are going to do instead of using anger. It should be something that has at least an equal chance of getting you what you want while supporting others in their process of getting their own needs met.”
Tossing and Turning
As I tossed and turned in my pick up truck that night, I thought. I processed. I looked at the situation and realized that both our needs weren’t being met. Selfishly, not just mine. But to his credit, he’s calm, cool and collected and listened to the feelings that tumbled out of my mouth and heart. No judgments made. No bitter words. Just the heart-felt simplicity of, “Please don’t leave.” Be still my heart. A man who listened. Who felt. Who opened his heart wide open to my fatal flaws and embraced me. God is good.
Anger be gone—you have no power here.