Questioning Anger

I've heard it said we are in the sandwich generation. We are still letting our kids go while taking care of our parents. Are you there?

I've just been through a challenging year. It was a good project for me. But now it's over. You can read about it here.  

The celebration of my mother-in-law's life went well, until...

I'd set up a handicraft display in the chapel. I'd brought a matching set of her handiwork that I LOVED and wanted to keep for myself. They matched my curtains and cushions and her loveseats I'd planned to take. 

I'd taken the needlepoints to her at her long-term care home to brighten her up. I told her I would be keeping them for our home. Now that is a lie.

I knew bringing them for display was risky and it was. I was mortified when at the reception, I spotted my husband's brother rolling the favoured needlepoints up. I asked what he was doing to which he replied his partner wanted them for their home. 

Yikes! How did this happen? 

Later, I found out my husband hadn't paid attention when I'd told him I wanted them. It was my husband that released them to his brother. 

Seeing I was angry, my husband suggested I let it go. And in that moment I was overcome with a spirit of rage and frustration. 

I realized now I'd lied to my dying mother-in-law and in anger, decided I would NOT keep anything else of hers. 

At the funeral, I paused to say goodbye to my mother-in-law's husband/partner. 

He wanted to say more than goodbye, though. He used the opportunity to scold me realizing I'd removed his favourite needlepoint (a different one) from the apartment.  You see in the months prior, she had to be moved to long-term care while he remained in their apartment. He planned to downsize and commanded us on several occasions to remove her remaining items. We simply complied.

The stitchery piece in question had been placed in the closet of her long-term care room. It was there for 2 months without him ever asking about it.

I suppose it was his grief triggering the scolding. Maybe he was not so much scolding me as venting his sorrow. But I took it personally because I'd committed so much personal time to looking out for her, sorting her items, and being there for her as time permitted over the past year.  

What had otherwise been a good event, turned sour due to the two instances. 

The way I cope is to vent. I vented all the way home and for a few hours later. But I knew all the venting in the world would not help. I had to look at the driving issues. 

Love Like You've Never Been Hurt 

Later that evening, I turned on the TV and pastor Jentezen Franklin's TV show came on. He was speaking on his new book called, Love Like You've Never Been Hurt.

In his talk, he reminded viewers that we have all been hurt, and we WILL all be hurt again. Getting hurt is part of life. 

He suggests the way to deal with it is to step back, go to our sweet space until we settle down and to let God be our avenger. In time, God restores us. 

This reminded me of the Biblical account of when Peter challenged Jesus. Jesus actually referred to Peter as Satan, rebuking him. I'm sure that conversation wasn't pleasant. Right after that occurred, the next scripture says it was 6 days before Jesus was with the disciples again. Obviously, Jesus took time to withdraw. He went to his sweet spot. He decompressed. 

So that is what I plan to do too. 

Understanding Anger 

Today, I read from Os Hillman's devotional "Understanding the Source of Anger TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman March 12, 2018"

This verse stood out: "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." - Proverbs 29:11

Wow! And I like to say I cope through venting. I guess I'm a fool! 

Hillman pointed out that anger is a symptom of a deeper issue. He suggests "the source of anger is often unmet expectations or personal rights. We believe we are entitled to a particular outcome to a situation. When things change, it triggers something in us."

I know with regard to the first scenario, that my expectation was I'd take the needlepoint pieces back home to hang on my wall. But my personal rights to them were violated when they were given to another. 

With the second scenario, I felt entitled to be told thank you for all my hard work, not made to feel guilty. My contributions seemed to be dismissed when I was instead scolded. 

I know the triggers now very well--unmet expectations and violation of my perceived personal rights.  


My husband asked me, "How do you know God didn't want the other woman to have the stitchery?"  

Maybe he did. What I do know is that simple hurt pushed me to make some huge decisions I had on my prayer list.

What transpired made me think I need to set firmer personal boundaries. 

I'm going to my happy place now so God can deal with me and avenge me. 

If you struggle with anger, ask God to reveal the source of that anger. Then take at least 6 days to let God sort it out.

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