what do you do?
I keep thinking I should be humming along, carrying on with life as I usually would because not all that much has changed for me … per se.
After all, I’m not the one going to the Jack Addy Cancer Center three days in a row out of every three weeks, spending 4-5 hours there each time to receive chemotherapy. I’m not the one unable to work, having had to say goodbye for a time to coworkers and customers and my familiar routines. Nor am I divvying up my medications for the week of treatment, and having to assess how I feel the myriads of times I’m asked, and getting my strength and energy and appetite back only to have the whole routine start all over again.
So I find it hard to get mad when I am frustrated by things, and I had a list of sorts here of the things that sometimes threaten to overwhelm, but I deleted it. Maybe I’m worried people will judge me for being able to handle so little. Maybe I’m annoyed with myself for the same. And … it’s quite possible, too, such things are better kept between God, myself, my journal, and those who best know my heart and my husband’s heart and how to handle them with care and grace.
Yet I found myself with frustrations and disappointments and other non-sunshiny thoughts last week. I couldn’t talk to Jeff about it when I got home – it was too sharp, and I know I would have said or done something I would have possibly forever wished to be able to take back. So we had supper, and I set to doing some housework. I scrubbed bathrooms, tidied some flat surfaces. Warred within myself all the while.
As I marched up the stairs from our basement post-mini dusting blitz, I found myself thinking I just needed to tamp it all down, to put my feelings aside and simply get over it, get over myself. Yet, even as I neared the top step, remembrances of a Bible verse about ‘be angry and sin not’ and snippets of song lyrics about what do you do with the mad that you feel floated up. And somehow by the time I joined Jeff in the living room, I had given myself permission to be angry, to be frustrated. To feel what I was feeling, acknowledge the causes. “I’m mad,” I said to Jeff, “and that’s okay.” And he listened. And I listened to him share his frustrations in kind.
We both, I think, felt better afterwards. We didn’t stay in the frustrations. We allowed the wounds, as they were, to be drained. We didn’t lash out at one another. We were brave and we were careful. And while not every problem has been solved or circumstance changed, we at least were no longer angry pretenders.
I hope you, too, have safe places and spaces and ways of dealing with the mad that you feel.