Stiff upper lip, ol’ chap!

Nah, sod that!

That should give you an idea of where I am at the moment. This is a rant, so be warned. If you are easily offended and expect people, especially Christians, never to become angry, disillusioned and utterly bewildered, then don’t read on.

The other day, I got angry with God. In doing so, I realised that I had been angry with him for the past year or so. Maybe longer. The thing is, there is a difference between being angry and allowing yourself to express it, which I will term getting angry.

I was brought up to behave. Not to get upset, angry, frustrated or any other ‘negative’ emotion. It was never said, in so many words, but the implication was always there. After a while, you learn to bottle it all up, to become a ‘people pleaser’ and to not let on how you really feel. Eventually, you begin to believe your own PR. What is more, you think that the whole world, not just your immediate family, expects you to behave acceptably i.e. don’t make a fuss.

Now, after a few years in the company of good friends, most of whom were Christians (as was I by this time) I learned that being upset was okay. So I would let myself feel and be unhappy, and found that many people were not only ready to try and understand, they would also help and, get this, still want to know me afterwards! Quite a revelation.

So, how about anger? I am only beginning to let that show, and it is not a pretty sight when I do. Imagine that every time I get angry, it is tainted with the bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness in my heart that has resided there for many years. Also, I do not know how to be ‘healthily’ angry. I’m still conditioned to sit on it, (as lack of conflict is a good sign, yes?!?) so when I do express it, things are alot more nasty and explosive than I intend. I also have the guilt to deal with in the aftermath – ‘Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.’

Now, that is the background. Given that I have long interpreted the injunction not to let the sun go down on my anger as being a command not to express it, I have alot of repressed yuk to deal with. Thing is, I reckon that I have been letting the sun go down on a gradually accumulating heap of anger for many, many years.

So, to come closer to the present day. I got married last year. Hurrah! My Mum and Dad were not there due to Mum being ill. Angry. Just before Chirstmas, my Mum had a stroke. She has recovered alot physically and some of Real Mum has returned, but she will never be the same. In effect, I have lost my Mum, but someone who reminds me of her still lives on. Can I grieve? Not sure, and people seem to expect me to be happy that she is still around. In fact – I’m angry. My Mum is so depressed that I’m sure she would rather not be around sometimes. So yes, I am angry.

Also, where do I turn? As a trade off for the privilege of marriage, God expected me to move from a place full of people that knew me so well that, emotionally, I always knew where to turn. He put me in a job where I could not settle, given the nature of it, and thus not form meaningful relationships. Also, the job itself meant dealing with the more awful side of life. My chapel is small and, tho the people are lovely, my lifestyle has meant that I have not formed proper links with them. My new family by marriage are brilliant but, in my internal ‘rule book’, family is to be behaved for and not upset. (To those Parrys reading this, I apologise for that.) Husband is also fab, naturally, but one person with stresses of his own can’t be expected to bear the brunt of all my disfunction. Is neither right nor fair.

So the anger of these events has had nowhere to go.

I noticed very recently that my ‘Quiet Time’ (hate that phrase!) has become non-existent. I put this down to change of lifestyle but then realised that alot of it had to do with the fact that I had no real desire to talk to God. After all, all this was his fault! As my Heavenly Father, holy and blameless, I could not say this to him. I would be wrong to do so! So, instead, I said very little to him at all. I’m not saying this was a conscious decision, it just happened.

Then, some really awful stuff happened at work and the undercurrent of ‘This is not RIGHT’ began to break the surface. I began to tell the Lord what I thought. Then Mike was killed. It was all too much, and the dam broke.


Afterwards, I felt better than I had in a while. The questions are still unanswered, the pain is still there but, somehow, God is with me. I’m not saying for a moment that I am no longer angry. In fact, I am saying quite the opposite. I AM angry.

Angry with injustice.
Angry with the fact that this world is fundamentally screwed up.
Angry with illness, death and pain.
The list goes on….

But get this, I am ALLOWED to be angry!

Anger is God’s way of letting us process the fact that life don’t make sense, it does hurt and that sometimes there is nothing else to say…..

As is grief.

By denying ourself this process, we internalise it all and it comes out in other ways. The amount of road rage and stupid little ailments I have suffered this last year does not bear thinking about.

In this life, esp in the line of work I do, there is alot to make us angry. We owe it to ourselves, and to those who would support us in our grief and rage (incl. our Father in Heaven), to let it flow. Not in a maladjusted and selfish way*, for the command not to sin in our anger still stands, but to let ourselves feel it. Only in acknowledging and ejecting the crap and rubbish, can we make room for forgiveness, peace and hope in our hearts.

So, what will I aim to do from now on? Firstly, I will acknowlege that learned behaviour of 35 years takes a good while to unlearn. So, I’ll accept that I’ll still fail to get it right! However, I hope to be more open and honest with those near and dear to me. Primarily, tho, I am not going to don my figurative fig-leaves and hide from God. He knows where I am, after all!

*On reflection, this ideal ain’t always possible either. That’s what forgiveness is for, yes?

4 thoughts on “Stiff upper lip, ol’ chap!

  1. I’m so sorry sweetheart, I thought you were happier in new new job and settling well in parryland. I wish I could wave a wand and do something to help.

    I think Michael being killed has made us all look at life through a fresh lens. I am leaving work (if they give me a chance – after this week I’ll be surprised if I still have the option to get there first!!), pamela is going to india, various people are reassessing and having to do various things… because Michael touched us all, and in a way this hideous news and shocking reality is making everyone sti back and take stock. He lived out what he believed, and his death encourages us to hope that is possible for each of us. or something.

    Also, the Psalmist gives us permission to be angry. Look at the "lament" sections (Ps 140 ish). I cried out to the Lord, I poured my complaint unto him. God is big enough to deal with our pain, our anger… remember, he’s been here, done that, in a sense.

    I know I’m waffling and I’m sorry, but I want you to knwo you aren’t alone, and he loves you and looks out for you and understands. Keep expressing it!! better out than in…

    hugs and see you soon xx (if you’re home for new year, it’s at windsor st)

  2. Dith, thank you for sharing all this. I’ve had some of the same frustrations recently, but can’t express them as eloquently.

    In my lectures this term, time and time again people would talk about the psalms, particularly the laments. About half the psalms have an element of lament and who can say that about the hymns they sing? Alice is right – when the words are not there and you don’t want to talk, take refuge in the words of the psalmist.

    I have (re)learnt that God can take my anger, all of our anger. He will also deal with grief, tiredness, feeling that the world is somehow passing you by, and any other thing you care to throw at him and he _does_ care that you throw them at _Him_.

    My prayers for you that you will come through this bleak landscape to the contrast of God’s wonderful glory working in your life.

Comments are closed.