Lots of people talk about anger. Lots of people have really insightful things to say on this topic. I'm not sure if my addition to the countless plethora of blog posts and articles is going to make much of an impact. It is, however, my deepest thoughts on something that I have found challenging for years.
Anger is a harsh emotion. It has the sharpness of a blade and can be used as such a tool. When used in a healthful fashion, it can be the surgeon's scalpel that excises illness from our souls. When used in an unhealthful fashion, it becomes the common thug's switchblade that is used to extort others or force them into acting against the validity of their own souls. Anger itself is a morally neutral thing.
I struggle with anger. The popular opinion that anger is a dangerous emotion has crept into my life and puts it into the realm of something to be controlled and withheld from view, lest it prove something too disruptive for others. Oft quoted aphorisms that talk about how anger is something we are supposed to remove from ourselves tend to pop up a lot on my Facebook feed and meet me on a regular basis when I am looking at how to best manage my illnesses.*
The real struggle that I face when encountering anger is not that wild, uncontrollable sense of anger that people talk about. It is owning my anger and embracing it when it is valid. We should not be a culture that decries any emotion. Emotions happen. They're our response to the world around us. We should be embracing them and upholding them as valuable.
Anger is what motivates me to act against injustice. Anger is what motivates me to speak up when I see someone being needlessly cruel. Anger is what pushes me forward when I find that my depression has overwhelmed me. Anger is not our enemy. Anger is as much our friend as pain. It tells us when something is wrong. It gives us the strength to fight for what is right. It is the voice that says "You will not ignore me. I am am a vaild human being. You WILL respect me."
I'm working to embrace that healthy aspect of anger. And I sincerely hope that others shall do so as well.
* I will be talking a bit more about mental illness and my own faith later this week. I'll be posting a link to that entry here in the foot notes.