A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Meditation Moment in Lent ~ Day 25: Give Up, Take On, Pray '24

March 13, 2024 ~ 5th Wednesday in Lent

Holding on to anger is like drinking poison 
and expecting the other person to die.  

Holding on to anger is like holding hot coals 
you intend to throw at someone 
but you're the one who gets burned.
Anger is an acid that does more harm 
to the vessel in which it is stored 
than to anything on which it is poured.

     All of the above quotes, in a variety of similar iterations, have variously been attributed to The Buddha, Mark Twain, Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca, 12-Step programming, and any number of contemporary authors. It is often difficult to pin down the actual origin of almost epigrammatic expressions especially when widely quoted. Nonetheless, whoever said them first, the consensus of the above is that anger is more dangerous to oneself than to others. Anger that escalates to rage and/or combines with desperation, however, can certainly be dangerous for everyone around.
    But not all anger is bad or dangerous ~ it's quite appropriate and justified, when it's directed at or a result of personal loss, instances of gross injustice, discrimination, economic hardship, and so on. It is how we use our anger, how we respond that makes the difference between poisoning ourselves and resolving an issue. Thoughtful response rather than impulsive reaction? Some days are better than others. How can I pull back when pushed over an edge? Counting to 10? Deep breathing? 
   So much depends on when and how the anger surfaces and who is pushing my buttons and what else is going on within me that may be completely unrelated.   
   For one who is constantly seething over things small and large, “itching for a fight” consciously or otherwise, or keeping it all inside unexpressed with an all-gracious exterior, seeking outside help, pastoral and/or professional is a useful step in self-care.
   We all know that Jesus says to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. If I’m spending much of my brief life raging at others, even just inside, it says more about how I feel about me than how I actually feel about her, him, and them. 

   Dear God,

      There are days when I want You to be Your Old Testament Self ~ smiting and plaguing, wrathful and condemning, thundering, destructive, and vengeful, oh my! That gives me permission, sort of, to impose the eye for eye/tooth for tooth thing as I plot my revenge against a perceived enemy.  But mostly, I want ~ and need ~ Your New Testament Self in the form of Jesus who relieves my angst and anger, and shows me a quieter yet equally satisfying path. For today, I'll give up attempting to bend my part of the world to my will by shouted recrimination or internal rage. I'll take on seeking more positive outlets to right injustice, overcome discrimination, promote understanding, or get involved with organizations that work to resolve large issues that affect us all. I'll also work toward calming my inner upsets, examining the why and how of what bothers me, and continuing my quest for the inner peace that will reflect outwardly. I'll pray for the guidance and blessing of the Holy Spirit, the support and friendship of a loving community of faith, and the collective wisdom and love of family and close friends. Oh, and I'll keep working on what I'm thinking about those other drivers when I’m in the car. amen. 

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