Angerr. G r owl ing. I am. Grr ow ing.
Anger. Â An’ grrrrr.
I am not angry all day, but every- EVEry,Â e-very-day.
This is not a rant, so hear me out.
Anger is a spiritual teacher but can be poisonous. Â I can’t live out of anger, and I can’t live without anger. Anger is confounding and usually a compound like asphalt not a simple element like copper.
I am striving to create peace more than anyone I know. So every day I meditate to carve myself into a vessel of peace. Still I’m furious. I’m mad at the soda and water bottles that blow onto my front yard. I’m pissed that for centuries women are second class citizens. I’m rip-roaring angry that the US car industry keeps designing gas guzzling cars.
Should I point the finger at Mitt Romney, a supreme capitalist? Should I blame the parents for trash in our streets? The kids? I had a beer last night, so should I be angry at the plastic cups I use? Yes we all recycle plastic, but it isn’t sustainable, is it? Many mornings I see 6 or 8 rovers sleeping near bridges along the river. My father calls them tramps. Their brown bags and dirty paper is an eyesore. I’m disgusted we can’t offer them a house. I’m angry at the tornadoes, at the endless war blitz, at the discrimination against immigrants,Â the tragedy in Haiti, and the war authority act in Congress. I’m hyperventilating.
Golly gee willikers. Can rage be healthy?Â At least my anger staves away depression. I’m serious. Women get depressed in this country and men get aggressive. And me? I refuse to be aggressive nor will I allow myself to slip into depression.
What’s a Quaker to do with anger? Praying to stop anger is banal. Of course I seek to live out of Loving Mystery. Anger and love must become like the inhale and exhale of the same breath. Â James Nayler, the eminent Quaker, explains how to pray when angry. “Art thou in the Darkness?” or in other words are you consumed with fury and confused by negativity. I’m defining Darkness as hurt and anger. He says, “Mind it not. But stand still and act not and wait in patience, til Light arises out of Darkness and leads thee.” Anger motivates, anger points to injustice, anger is righteous. But when it comes to how to respond to anger, NaylerÂ says be patient and act not out of the Darkness.
I work and give money to groups like the Homeless Empowerment Project. More than giving money, I spend a day a week teaching immigrants, half of these adults only have a 4th grade education. More than volunteering, I meet with others who have spare time and legal rights, to discuss how to change our behaviors in these cataclysmic times. More than organizing people of privilege to work for a just world, I ask our Higher Power to show me the way. So channeling anger uses these steps: giving of yourself, teaching the illiterate, organizing to stop injustice, and praying. I’m looking for ways to create what followers of MLK call the Beloved Community.
To me the Beloved community includes Pat Humphries, Desmond Tutu, Lady Gaga, Dennis Kuchinich, Melinda Gates and Rupert Murdoch. In this community we want Pete Seeger singing This Land is Your Land, this Land is My Land.
Who is the Beloved Community? My older brother tried to trip me as a child going down the stairs. I need to include him, the people who hurt me. And definitely we belovedly reach out to Barack, Michelle, Michelle’s mother and the two girls living at the White House. But would we be willing to live next to Muamar Quadafi and his family? The Community has many doors and is welcoming to all. I know that. Accepting even those I’m upset with as children of God, as worthy, as my brother is so elementary but important. Maybe I’ve passed to 4th grade in the peace achievement test scores. Anger and peace aren’t opposites, but they sure are painted to be enemies.