Consumed by Anger
Recently I was talking to someone who had been betrayed by a friend. Not only did this man feel hurt by his friend's actions, he was downright angry. As we talked, his anger boiled over and spilled across him. Of course, he was disappointed and hurt by what his friend had done, but it was his anger that was scalding his soul. I suggested that while he had a right to be angry, holding on to the anger would merely leave him with dis-ease. He couldn't seem to understand what I was talking about. “How can I stop being angry? Look at what she did to me.”
How often have we found ourselves in such a place? We can't let go of our anger because it feels like we would also be letting go of our victimization. It's rather like saying to ourselves, “If I have to suffer the indignity of being hurt, I should be able to get the full benefit of feeling like a victim!”
I certainly do not want to suggest that we should never be angry, or that we should dismiss or condone actions that victimize us. I'm saying that we can easily become so attached to what has been done to us that we are completely unaware of what we are doing to ourselves. When we hold on to the deed that has been perpetrated against us or when we refuse to let go of our anger, we cannot heal. Instead our soul tightens up and the relaxing breath of God does not flow freely through us. The longer we carry on in this way, the tighter our soul becomes. Then one day we wake to find bitterness rather than love coursing through our veins. We're surprised to see that the hurt done to us by someone else can never equal the hurt we heap on ourselves by diminishing our capacity to give and receive the forgiving grace of heaven.
I know that whenever I realize this and have the courage to simply drop my anger as if I were slipping out of a robe to step into a brisk shower, I'm suddenly awakened to that grace that heaven has been longing to give me. That grace is inner peace, and I am overjoyed by its subtle healing.