I have been looking at some of my previous entries and have to apologise for the tone; this is my sounding board, and as such has to cope with some of the most distilled emotions I encounter in my journey to make sense of what is happening to dad (and, as a result, to each of us who love him).
So today a few positives.
1. I walked to school and back yesterday, thus getting in free exercise, learning where a few shops are, saving approximately £1.27 on petrol and working off some anger about phone calls I had made. And it is only 30 minutes each way.
2. Mum was impressed. Couldn’t tell if dad was too, but they had to go and make a (low-cholesterol) meal for a DIY friend of mine who had called round to fix the staircase at mum and dad’s new ‘buy-to-let’ property. Thankfully dad hadn’t had his heart attack there a couple of weeks back when he was tackling this job on his own (without his mobile phone!)
3. I have also managed to sort out getting mum and dad’s ‘spare’ car bought off them via a friend of my minister. He called me today, and should be able to take it tomorrow. They were worrying about how long it was going to sit there, drinking up insurance.
4. I have thought through a few more things about how I cope with anger, and some more solutions. Instead of hiding from it, I now feel I really ought to make time to allow myself to be angry. I have lots of distraction mechanisms and mostly avoid blaming others. Does it help to never blame others? You have to be truthful. The truth is, sometimes others do hurt you. That’s hard for me to admit. You also have to try not to judge others. Well, if someone spills coffee on me (hypothetically), the truth is they did it. If there were no other circumstances, they still did it, and are still responsible. It could be deliberate or a mistake. If a mistake, I have no problems forgiving them (although there is still a mess to clear up, and consequences which it would be wise for the spiller to help rectify). If deliberate, there is also the issue of restitution. It can be harder to forgive an action meant to hurt. There is still a mess. There are probably further consequences. But they are clearly to blame, and to ignore that is to ignore the truth and all that follows. You do your fellow human no service if you ignore his deliberate fault.
In class, you do not act professionally if you do not challenge improper behaviour and attitudes.
At home, if you ignore intents, you will always be dealing with clearing up the messes of others’ hurtful actions.
It is our role as humans and as Christians (where we are) to be truthful about others’ fault. This is not in order to prevent further fault (although it may help). Neither will it ‘make things right’; the consequences remain. Truth helps to allow righteous anger about a situation, and I believe, helps the anger pass quicker. Anger should be a temporary visitor in anyone’s experience, a qualifier for future experience and maturity.
How do I feel angry about dad’s health?
I don’t think I can blame dad for his eating habits. Maybe I should, but that would be getting angry at the victim. Or then again, maybe it is ok to be (briefly) angry that he didn’t have the healthiest diet, especially with family coronary history. Well, I won’t judge him, but I am angry that his health wasn’t better, in part down to his own choices with food.
I feel angry that undue stress was mounting up on him, and that others couldn’t do anything to relieve that. Who to blame? A large set of circumstances. Things you cannot control. So, in no particular order, I am angry with the fact that the minister left dad’s church. Not with him. Nothing wrong in him moving, but there are consequences. I am angry with the fact that my sister is so far away. Not with her. It is good that she should go to NZ. I am angry with some of the unnecessary stress brought on by the length of time it took to complete on the new property. Maybe I should direct that anger at the professionals. I am angry especially at the stress levels dad had to go through week in, week out, at work as a school inspector. Inspected himself up to three times a week. His best skills challenged by puppets of a fragmented system. His wisdom harnessed by the interests of absent managers. These people I direct most of my righteous anger toward. I do not wish them harm, but I am angry about their behaviour and the things that led dad to have ‘more stress than he’d ever felt before’ around his 60th birthday.
This helps enormously. Truth heals.
Lastly, I am angry for dad. His life is not at full strength yet. He is in first gear (family joke about his lack of changing gear), but ought to be racing. He ought to be able to go on long walks with us. He ought to be able to travel to London with me next week. He ought to be able to go to church, come to visit us, see the sea. But he can’t right now, and that makes me angry. There is no one to blame for this. So this is when I have to use my other mechanisms for anger.
a) Turn it into sorrow, and hurt for him. (This can help, but only temporarily).
b) Deny it is happening, or forget, to focus on daily life. (This makes me feel guilty).
c) Try and solve it: do things which will make the suffering less. (This is good, but not always appropriate).
d) Look to others who hurt more to put this into a perspective of tragedies. (Actually, this makes it worse for me).
e) Find the positives. Count the blessings. Praise God for the small and large mercies in this (and other) situations. As long as I am being truthful and sensitive, this mechanism works best.
You might wonder what anger has to do with this being a positive post. Well, it’s positive in the way that a plaster on a wound is positive. It heals. It is only necessary when needed, but it is a very important step forward in dealing with emotions and putting right what hurts.
When I’m up to full emotional strength, I can be a better person to help dad.