Marvin Repinski: Some thoughts about anger

Published 6:30 am Saturday, February 6, 2021

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“I was glad when they said, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’” — Psalm 122:1. My goal in writing this, is to express some thoughts about our emotions.

When a loss

leads to gain

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My preface is a news item that appears in the Feb. 5, 2021, issue of “The Week” magazine. Pastor Robbie Pruitt reported an expensive mountain bike that was taken; probably stolen. He was very angry, he said, that a thief stole his mode of transportation and adventure. He visited area bike stores to buy a replacement. In a thoughtful few minutes, he said that “his bike may have been stolen by someone who truly needed transportation.” What to do? Here’s what the man did: “Pruitt put out a call on Facebook asking for broken and unwanted bicycles he could fix and donate to those in need.” This was not the end of this story. It may have touched other selfless persons. “By the end of last year, he had repaired 40 bikes.” Let us assume that he received help from some good-hearted neighbors. Maybe members of the Kiwanis Club!!

Every source of information, it seems, has been speaking of, picturing and giving figures on the damage of the routing of our Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. What may be the thoughts of those left to pick up the pieces and clean up the mess?

My reflection is reliving the chaos and criminal actions with many words. The word that will not release itself in my consciousness is anger. ANGER, ANGER, ANGER!

The challenge of

mastering our emotions

When a child in grade school was hit in the chops by another student, a teacher nearby intervened. To the injured student, about to make a fierce tackle while using the “F——” word, a halt was called for. “Now all of us together will stand still and count to ten.” Some quiet descended.

We are many persons within the one person we know so well. We live with that one person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year. And if we live a short life (what is a short life?) or have the good fortune of a body, mind, emotions, and support groups, we will know the wide assortment of emotions. From fear and terror to joy and cheer, no one is left out.

There are in the world today, it seems more than ever, raging conflicts. On different fronts, struggle is on the masthead of multiple ships of state.

I couple anger with the word freedom in its many forms. For instance, freedom from oppression, freedom from hunger, freedom from discrimination, freedom from the misunderstood (so varied), and mental illness. We may agree that the pain experienced in silence or rage displayed when sexual abuse is experienced is to be understood. Add to these and other struggles the crush of often irrational feelings that one has been left out. Or that “others” get the breaks, “others” are favored, and we are left out.

The complexity of what I’ve identified, you could enlarge my lists. Don’t, please; the headache will intensify! All of what I have mentioned has a link-up with our emotional lives. Think about that please.

Ways to gain a new approach

Without a hand to hold, an ear to listen to us, a source of financial support, a place for our health needs, we plunge deeper into frustration that may be the breeding ground for anger.

Anger, when perpetuated, fed by family, friends, or even by persons whose names elude us, becomes a disease. Break that down: dis-ease. Is that living with no ease?

If I were to suggest that at the bottom, a home lacking a father (absentee fathers?), a rootless, tattered, abused, emotional life will invariably give birth to a certain child, you may say, “Marv, like what’s your take on things?” My answer: “My experience in counseling others, teaching, and introspection (I have to live with myself), is that a child may be scared, maybe passing on that home life. And it will kill us inside and may contribute to persons that wish to murder someone else. “So,” you say — now what?

In inviting a new approach, my thinking is moved and informed by Rene’ Girard’s “Violence and the Sacred.” It’s viewed as a writing, historical anthropology, while forming his study with psychological insights. An analysis that needs increased rumination and application is the reality that one act of violence incites another. This movement may engender or encourage acts of replication. A cycle of anger may be expanded to finally draw in even the “onlookers” (the innocent) who began an irrational process of destruction.

Some of these actions of anger and rage may result in “indiscriminate violence,” writes Girard. He states, “Only the introduction of some transcendental quality can bring an end to the cycle of vengeance.” To quiet movements of revenge requires persons of character and gifts who offer the example of peace-keeping. And a “new approach” is found in some “old approaches” that have been abandoned or forgotten.

The beauty

of shaping life

If I suggest that self-control is the jewel in the crown, someone reading this may say, “You sound like my mother,” or, “Your proposal, self-control —- that’s what my grandpa used to tell his wife, my grandmother. They are now both gone, but I think, after some years, they had learned something!”

I suggest this conclusion.

Imagine a house called ANGER. In this residence there are many rooms.  In each room is a “relative” of Mr. Anger: hate, revenge, squashed dreams, bitterness, jealousy, lacking ability to forgive, anxiousness, retaliation, smear, blaming, curse, strife, eliminating, and other negatives you may add.

Please recall a Bible verse that has strengthened your spiritual and emotional life: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” — Joel 2:13.

Becky and I recently viewed an older movie on TV titled “Vera Drake.”  What struck me as an advocate of Planned Parenthood or planning a family that can be faithfully supported, nurtured with basic needs provided, is laudable.

In the exchange in the movie a mother is speaking of her seven children.   She speaks of the hardship of having any more children. “I don’t want more children, but (referring to her husband), he can’t control himself.” Oh? Oh?

This scene is but a reminder of the reality of control, to order one’s life, to be sensible in decisions, and thoughtful in our own speaking, that proper control is not a nasty word, but a life-saver!