Friday, August 6, 2010

anger management

Note to Self:

You step up to the sliding glass door and re-live the pain of the pane, shattered by the projectile plate that you threw the ground because someone called immigrants "dirty criminals" and you remembered every student you knew who had been deported. For a moment, you wish you could be a little nicer. A little more pleasant.  A little more Mr. Rogers. A man of many cardigans who says, "Isn't that swell" and "We'll just agree to disagree."

You think that perhaps there is a magical formula to prevent you from ever losing your temper like that again, a way to manage anger.

Then, you step outside, holding Brenna and listening to the rain.  Micah beckons you out from the porch and you stand in the rain.  Then you dance.  You jump.  You smile.  You cry.  Tears of joy.  Tears of release.  You know that it will mean you have to get a new shirt and you'll have to change Brenna and she might eventually cry.  But right now she's laughing and smiling and you cleanse yourself in the monsoon storm.

You're passionate, John.  You're sensitive.  It's something you can't escape.

Nice guys don't get crucified.  They don't get shot on balconies.  They aren't told by the community that the only remedies for their questions is a strong shot of hemlock.

You don't have to be nice.


You need to be loving, compassionate, kind, even gentle.  But nice? Not so much.

Later at Starbucks as you hear the men talk about the new rules for the Home Owner's Association and you watch one of them get distracted by his blue tooth conversation about professional golf, the truth is confirmed. Life is a vapor and you can't let it pass by in quiet desperation.  It's too short for, "How about the weather?" and afternoons spent watching professional golf.

So, live passionately.  Write books.  Dance with your kids.  Ask hard questions that might lead to scary answers.  Make love to your wife and bear your soul to her.  Share a pint with your friends and talk about something deeper than the local hometown sports team.  Dare to care about your students and teach with energy even when it's late May and their in eighth grade and the Wall of Apathy seems insurmountable.

You know that deep within your soul, the only cure for losing your temper is humility.  Try to manage it and you'll be just as angry, but you'll kill your sensitive, passionate soul.


1 comment:

  1. Wow. I needed to hear this. I'm going to be thinking about some of this for a while. Thank you for being tranparent in a way that shows who you are inside. It's something I have struggled with and thought about. I like your perspective.