Anger is everywhere these days, it seems. People go from zero-to-livid in 2.5 seconds. Look at some people funny and they’re ready to lay you out.
I see anger in sports, anger on the news, anger in Hollywood, anger on the streets, anger in the restaurants and anger in the stores. Drive slower than some think you should and you’re in danger of being flipped off and cursed at. Or, God forbid a server at your favorite eating dive make a mistake. YEESH, you’d think the world was ending because some lady’s steak was under-cooked.
My wife and I were at the airport in Kansas City a few months ago when three men in their 20s walked swiftly passed us. The dude in the middle was yelling, while the other two were trying to settle him down, to no avail.
“What? Don’t tell me to be quiet, man! You worried about what these people think? I ain’t worried about these people. F#!K these people, man!”
Good grief. Here my wife and I were, excited about getting out of the state for a working vacation in a scenic locale, and some moron is trying to pick a fight with the first person he could sucker into it.
I’ll find myself taking what is supposed to be a leisurely, weekend drive, but before I know it I’ve gotten myself swept up into the madness of traffic. I’m sighing and rolling my eyes, yelling at people for not driving the way I think they should.
It’s exhausting, really.
So I’m making the effort to stop getting caught up in the anger of the day. I refuse to surround myself with angry people. Life is too short. Life is too beautiful. I mean, what a waste of time, spending every day swimming in madness, only to push yourself into a stomach ulcer and an early grave.
We were at the movies a couple weeks ago when a theater employee asked a man coming out of the bathroom to see his ticket stub. Part of the employee’s job is to try and stop people from sneaking in, and he merely didn’t recognize the man. Instead of just showing the employee his ticket, however, the jerk had to pop off.
“You’ve already seen it, man! I SHOWED IT TO YOU WHEN I GOT HERE! Good LORD!”
My wife whispered to me, “Why couldn’t he have just showed the poor guy his ticket?” Another not-so-subtle reminder that everyone around us will also suffer because of our putrid attitude.
Many times I have felt the immediate discomfort my foul attitude births. I’ve seen the trepidation on the faces of those who suddenly found themselves in the presence of anger.
Having dealt with chronic physical and emotional pain for decades, I admit my fatigue with this world pushes me too far sometimes. I try and keep everything in check but there are days it bleeds out onto the sidewalk, despite my best efforts.
“But don’t let the passion of your emotions lead you to sin! Don’t let anger control you or be fuel for revenge, not for even a day. (Ephesians 4:26)”
I have no easy answers. I have no secret weapon to combat the anger. All I can do is whisper a prayer for help, and try to keep it in check.
Lord, this is my prayer today: I’m tired of freaking out at the drop of the proverbial hat. I’m tired of my son asking me if I feel ok, which is code for “Why are you acting so mad?” This world is exhausting, God. Please give me peace this night.
Please give me peace tomorrow. Please calm my nerves when pain, depression and anxiety get the best of me. Thank you for surrounding me with friends and family who shine the light of God and humor into my shadowed soul.
Help me to honor their love by daring to laugh when I feel like putting my fist through a wall.
I’m tired of this angry world, God. Help me to shine the light of love and laughter into the pitch blackness.
Give me the audacity to be someone else’s smile today.
In Your name I ask all these things.