I got a little angry last week and then I got a little more angry this week and that's okay, I guess, if you live by yourself and never have to communicate with real people whom you love or you don't love Jesus. But I don't live by myself and I do love Jesus and my little anger has been spilling over. And, as anger is wont to do, when it spills over you realize it's not so little as you first pretended it to be. In fact, it's a monstrosity.
The particulars don't matter much and also they're so varied and vast that it's not really the particular of the moment that I'm actually angry about, but all the other things so when the particular very little moment happens, it turns into a very big thing. The thing is: I am not an angry person (this is what all angry persons say, I think, probably). I extend grace like it's next year's credit. I overlook like it never happened. I bite my tongue and choose my words very, very, very carefully. And, at the bottom of all that seeming goodness: I'm angry.
Mostly I'm angry at my body. If there is an infectious malady I did not catch within the past three weeks, I'm unaware of it. Plus I cracked my tooth on a wheat berry and tweaked my lower back painfully and had the blessed curse on all women on top of it all. It was like merrily all the way until suddenly 37 said, "And now, for our next trick, your body is going to remind you it's fallible from head to toe!" I pride myself (literally) on rolling with the punches, but there are some punches from which you cannot get up.*
And so, as anger does when there is no shred of pride left to keep it from bubbling over, I've been angry. I can count on more hands than I have the number of times my dear husband has said to me in the past few weeks, "I think you're overreacting/being harsh/feeling tired/need to give them more grace/need to give yourself more grace/misunderstanding/being unkind." So, literal insult to literal injury, my body is falling apart and my soul is falling apart.
This morning I woke up all prepared with what I was going to say (since not saying, not saying, not saying until I can't not say anymore is a real sin struggle of mine) about a certain thing to a certain someone. I sat down to start work, armed with a lit candle, a Mason jar of water, coffee (which in recent weeks tastes like dishwater to me but which I keep drinking), and my Bible. I wish I could say there were stunning words of life and now I'm all repentant and changed and free of anger, but the truth is I'm not. I'm still angry. Again, the particulars don't matter and they're 26 bullet points long and probably matter a lot less than I'm giving them credit for. But what I realized this morning is really, there's only one bullet point that matters: I'm angry at God.
It's not because he isn't giving me something I want. And it isn't because he's giving it to someone else. It's not because he isn't good and isn't doing good all over the world. It isn't because he isn't kind or just or generous or merciful. He is all those things and I know it with my whole heart. I'm angry at him because I feel far from him and I've felt it for a while.
It shows up like I feel far from my dear husband or I feel lonely like my best friends live on opposite sides of the country or I feel far from the dream of ever living in the northeast on two acres in a farmhouse with a row of peonies and a couple kids or I feel far from being the person I want to be in body, in spirit, in soul, and in mind. I feel very far off from all this, yes, but mostly I feel far from God.
I've been listening to the Psalms this morning and reminding myself that God is unchangeable and omnipresent and never far off. That even if I feel far off or see myself as far off, he cannot be far off. Just as true as all the other truths about God I know, his presence is true. Who he is, is true. But also where he is, is true. And his nearness is my good (Ps. 73:28).
This doesn't sort out my anger. It doesn't resolve it. And it doesn't quell it. But it does point to the true source of it and that, I think, is probably a helpful place to start. It makes me wonder how much of the shouting in the world today (wars, rumors of wars, blog rebuttals and careless tweets, sarcasm and misunderstandings) is really just because we're angry at God. We feel overlooked by him. We feel unheard by him. We wonder, "How long, O Lord?" We keep thinking other people can solve or abate or resolve or even handle the anger we feel, but all along, the only one who can truly handle it is the only one who can truly resolve it.
I don't know where your anger (even if you're not an "angry person") is directed today. Maybe it's toward your family or your husband or politics or your kid or systemic problems in the world or the Church or your finances or your singleness or maybe you already know it's toward God and you're way ahead of me. I don't know. I'm praying for both of us this morning, though. That's all.
*Every time I talk about anything to do with health, I get 27,000 messages telling me what to do or not to do or what worked for you. Thank you. But please don't. Okay?