You have got to be kidding me

My friends know that nothing enrages me like shoveling snow.

Yes, you read that right. It’s entirely irrational.

Recently I told one of my friends how I had to shovel a snow drift at the end of my driveway. Even though it took only a few minutes, I got so angry, I found myself saying at least a few choice words aloud as I did it. I could feel my whole body tensing in anger.  “You have got to be f****** kidding me.”


She told me, “You should write about this in your blog.”

My response? “Why? So people will know how crazy I really am?”

She said, “No one really thinks you ever get angry. I’ve never seen you get angry.”

She’s not the first person to suggest that they’d like to see me get angry.

People routinely tell me that they think I must lead a charm-filled, stress-free life.

I assure you that this is both true and not true.

I choose to believe that my life is the way it is for a reason. That the reason is both me, and not me (in other words, it’s bigger than me). Nothing in my life looks the way I planned it. And yet, it’s both more and less than I expected.

Sometimes we tend to label emotions as good or bad. Anger isn’t a bad emotion. It can be harmful when expressed in certain ways, though.

One of my long-time male friends used to sometimes break furniture when the wrong team won the football game.

I always wanted to ask him, “What are you really angry about?”

He lives alone, so I guess if he’s breaking his own furniture maybe he’s not hurting anything (though I suppose it’s also an expensive habit).

As for me, I feel like an inanimate outlet for anger (like, say, a force of nature), while seemingly childish, is basically harmless. As long as I know what I’m really angry about.

I suppose it’s the adult version of a temper tantrum.

It also proves I’m human. (In case there was any doubt.)

Deliver us from Evil, Part II

Read Part I of this entry.

Wright’s book included a substantial discussion of forgiveness, and he made several interesting points. I’ve noted that there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the concept of forgiveness, and that it’s often mis-understood, first and foremost, because forgiving is often equated with forgetting: “Forgive and forget.” But they are not the same thing.

Second, it’s simplistic to think about forgiving someone as “letting them off the hook,” or to see forgiveness as something that only benefits the alleged perpetrator. And, Wright further points out that forgiveness does not equate to tolerance, inclusivity, or indifference. “Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we don’t take evil seriously after all; it means that we do.”

Wright favors the concept of “restorative justice”. A bringing together of the offender and the victim, their families and friends, and the larger community, to determine a way forward. Forgiveness is, at its core, is about freeing both parties. Forgiveness “releases not only the person who is being forgiven but the person who is doing the forgiving.” Moreover, “forgiveness can mean not only that I release you from the threat of my anger and its consequences, but also that I avoid having the rest of my life consumed with anger, bitterness and resentment.”

Forgiveness, while it’s not about forgetting what happened, is a striving to act as if it didn’t happen. It is a way of repairing the relationship.

As an extension of this idea, Wright says that forgiveness is not about clearing an “emotional overdraft.” He adds, “If you try to love someone simply in order to be loved in return, what you are offering isn’t love, and what you get back won’t be love either.”

And finally, he points out that love is not a feeling, as so many of us mistakenly believe. It’s a choice, a call to action. “What ‘love’ means first and foremost is taking thought for someone, taking care of them, looking ahead in advance for their needs, in the way that you would take careful thought about, and plan wisely for, your own life.”

I think what Wright is trying to point out is that love and forgiveness are linked. Perhaps it is because in making the choice to love, we open our hearts and thus pave the way for forgiveness.

Easier said than done. But well worth the effort.