nonsensical text

Saturday, September 09, 2006

not guilty by reason of insanity

I got really angry yesterday. I am not a stranger to anger; I keep an unlimited supply just to the left of the canned tomato puree in the back of the pantry – just out of arm’s reach. I am usually somewhat good at leaving most of it there.

Yesterday, I was running late for football practice. I had all three football playing kids because the dh was late getting home from work. It was decided at the last minute that he and the other kids would stay at home. This didn’t bother me. I did start to get a trifle unsettled when we started with the shoe issues, uniforms scarcities, and realizations of forgotten drinks for the kids. That trifle started to grow when I looked at the clock and was swiftly kicked by the “OMGoodness, we should have left 5 minutes ago” bug. Still, I was merely flustered, perhaps a little more vehemently rattled than called for in the situation, but my anger jug was safely tucked away – until I walked out the front door.

Primary elections are next Tuesday in my neck of the woods. As a result, all of the local candidates can be found (as opposed to after election when you need three bloodhounds, an FBI agent, a psychic, and an earth magnet to dig one up). Coming toward me with pamphlet extended as I neared my car was just such a candidate. I waved him off as I rushed toward the car with a cheerful, “Sorry, not now, I’m really in a hurry.” I scurried past him to the driver’s side, inserted the key, and turned the ignition. The kids put the windows down simultaneously (we’re good like that). This man reached his arm inside the car, handed S the pamphlet, and started talking about his platform within three seconds of that window being opened.

I am not normally confrontational, and I had no idea I was capable of teleporting objects, but I must be. That anger jar was in my hands and cracked open faster than you can say, “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin.” I looked at this man I did not know, glanced at the pamphlet (thereby realizing he was the candidate and not just someone on the door-to-door committee), and let loose the following admonition:

“You are just plain rude. I told you I was in a hurry. You completely disregarded me and have gone beyond the boundaries of correctness. That is certainly no way to get elected!” at which point I put the car in drive. I would have pulled out then, but the previously clear street was now teeming with other cars racing the half block to the red light. By the time we did get to pull away, I had to sit through the traffic light three times, and it was one minute before the boys were scheduled to be on the field.

As is the way with these things, it doesn’t sound anywhere near as explosive in print. So many things depend on tone and body language. Perhaps it would help if I explained that my tone could have frozen a pool of magma as deep as the trenches of the Atlantic.

Afterward, I felt good. I felt like I had actually gotten up the courage to express righteous anger. I felt powerful and enabled. I felt like singing Helen Reddy.

Then I thought about it.

Thinking is a dangerous thing for someone like me. I have this horribly irritating tendency to start turning things around and looking at them from other perspectives. It suddenly occurred to me that this candidate might have mistaken the opening window as an invitation to continue his spiel.

From “I am Woman!” to “I Shot the Sheriff” with the speed of a CD laser.

Then came the brooding.

How often do I do that? With what kind of frequency do I fly off the handle with seemingly righteous indignation without stopping to look at the other person’s point of view? A candidate was walking down the street. He was cheered to see a possible vote. He came forward with his best candidate smile and met a madwoman intent only on inflicting rapid-fire condemnation.

There is such a slight difference between Jesus’ furious overturning of money lenders’ tables in the temple court and Peter’s sword-drawn fury as he severed the ear of the guard – the difference of seeing the whole picture and acting in a manner which seems right at the time.

If I insist on keeping that anger jar in the closet instead of turning it over to the authority of God’s wisdom, how do I ever expect to make the proper choice?



  • Some years ago I came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as righteous anger. At least, true righteous anger is a complete rarity. It also seems that during its brief appearances, it is soon taken over by justified anger.

    I'm with you. It belongs to God's wisdom not my own.

    Excellent post. Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. Have a great trip. I look forward to hearing about it when you get back.

    By Blogger Mary-LUE, at 11:32 AM  

  • I believe I will file that term "beyond the boundaries of correctness" for future reference! Thanks for a really good post.

    By Blogger Belle-ah, at 9:10 PM  

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