Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Powerful Passions

We are given powerful passions for a reason. I like to believe it's a mark of a good dose of the Holy Spirit, but we are often not taught how to channel these passions in a productive manner, or we are told to push down our feelings. This passion may then turn outward as rage, or inward as depression or anxiety, or any manner of other destructive counterfeits.

I'm from a family of screaming meanies. When we're not being loud, we're otherwise obnoxious with sarcasm, eye rolling, and other forms of bullying behavior. The only alternative to joining in the madness that I have found, is to escape. This can be done by simply avoiding groups of angry people, drinking myself into a stupor, or drugging myself or others around me. As a mother and wife, it was very important that I adopt other ways of addressing my discomfort with the behaviors of others.

It's very difficult not to fall back into the familiar behavior that was part of my formation as a person. As an adult, I like to believe that I can choose which behaviors I incorporate into my actions. This is easier said than done, especially when I'm with people from my past.

Rage, like any other addiction is difficult to overcome. It is also difficult to avoid at my family functions. It seems that the only way to stop the flaming arrows from flying is to scream the loudest or the longest, or to destroy with ridicule the person who has the floor. Is sarcasm aimed at those who seek to destroy the spirits of the humble or the innocent a sin?

Don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy the endless "Pollyannas in Paradise" approach. Where there are problems, we need to channel our passions into possible solutions. Any baby can scream about what hurts, but we adult humans should be able to be a bit more reasonable and proactive than that.

I have found that so much of today's society is acting enraged about almost everything; that it's becoming increasingly difficult to stay away from rage. Our society has been drinking and drugging ourselves, but this seems to only put off the inevitable. Or we pretend that we are powerless to do anything significant to affect change. We hide behind the bullies, and nothing really changes.

For many years I've said this prayer every day that I can remember "Holy Spirit, take my tongue". It seems to help me to think before I speak, and often no words I can say will be heard. Unfortunately, remaining silent can really raise my blood pressure. I guess I'll have to pray harder, or scream louder.

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