Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. –Mark Twain
Pretty great quote. A timely one for me, I guess, this week.
I am working really hard in this relationship with A to let my better angels do the talking and to keep those old destructive impulses at bay as best I can. The other night I was clearly in the wrong. And in the wrong because of a long-standing pattern of “things I do because of my overdeveloped sense of guilt and responsibility” (somewhere there’s some friends nodding in their understanding of this). Anyway, the older me would have figured out a way to make it not my problem, to make this non-function of my self necessary to the relationship, i.e. take it or leave. So while we sat in relative silence over salads at Texas Road House, I let my better angels and my self duke it out. Before the main course came, I figured it out, but I didn’t really mention it until the waitress brought the bill.
So I said, “A, I did this because of this…”
A says “I know and I can live with that, but you just have to let me know.”
As I chewed on my iceberg lettuce, I could feel myself becoming angry at him–not because he did anything (he didn’t) but because he wasn’t being unreasonable which didn’t give me any room to be unreasonable back. He just kind of sat there with a mostly placid look on his face, no doubt internally amused at my obvious frustration.
This quote (which came into my twitter feed via the mayor of Newark) makes me think of that, how my anger was trying really hard to chew a hole in the fabric of the relationship, which would have damaged me in the long run much more than A.
It makes me think of some of what’s going on at work, how that place so full of silliness is now filling up with anger and how it’s damaging relationships, and eating away at the fabric of functionality. I know I so easily contribute to that because all the unreasonableness allows me to feel justified in seeing their unreasonableness and raising them by grumpy. It’s mostly overwhelming, and exhausting. I need to figure this out, too.
Do not be irritated either with those who sin or those who offend; do not have a passion for noticing every sin in your neighbour, and for judging him, as we are in the habit of doing. Everyone shall give an answer to God for himself. Everyone has a conscience; everyone hears God’s Word, and knows God’s Will either from books or from conversation with other people. Especially do not look with evil intention upon the sins of your elders, which do not regard you; “to his own master he standeth or falleth.” Correct your own sins, amend your own life. —St. John of Kronstadt