Anger is like a dead weight.
The fool thinks that anger will invade only one area of his life. He thinks that anger can be compartmentalized from the rest of one’s feelings and actions. That fool thinks that the heart can be subdivided, anger for some and happiness for the rest. He is wrong.
After days of being angry, I decided to not be. I will not, of course, downplay the workings of grace. Grace was imperative for me to see what I was choosing to do to my own heart. In the beautiful mystery that is God, the Holy Spirit prepared my heart to receive the graces needed to take a step away from the anger and frustration.
As an introvert, I reflect on matters a great deal. This does not always lead me to choose the right thing, contrary to what logic would seem to indicate. Instead, sometimes this introspection can cause things to fester and brew to a higher degree than would be found in someone less intent on analyzing. In the midst of my dilemma, I felt justified in my actions and I continued to feel so even as the weight increased on my soul. My analysis caused me to feel things more acutely, rather than taking an indifferent or level-headed approach.
At times I would be laughing and joking with my students, and I would think that my heart was completely unaffected by this anger. It could be one part of my heart, but it wasn’t present in that moment and so it wouldn’t impact me there. I was wrong. If I am small-hearted with some people, soon I will become small-hearted with others.
I was sent to reflect on what the Lord had said to me weeks earlier, “You want greatness, but you keep your heart small.” It was a fist of Truth to the gut. Yes, I am choosing to keep my heart small. And I thought about what I was doing that was making me so angry and how counterproductive it was for my own heart. I was seeking to cut off part of my heart. That isn’t really an exaggeration: that was part of my prayer. I wanted part of my heart cut off and then I was left thinking, “Trish, your heart is so small, why are you seeking to make it smaller?” And I was left answerless.
Something needed to shift. I needed to adjust and grow. And I needed to choose it. So I soaked up some alone time, preparing myself for the choice, wondering if my heart would prove to be ally or foe.
Imperfectly, because that is always my way and the way of humanity, I chose it.
Today, I was happy and I chose to try to enlarge my heart rather than cut it into unfeeling pieces. And the Lord, in His great mercy, made it easy for me, because He knows I’m too little to do it all on my own.
And today, this heart felt lighter. It is so difficult (and tiring) to be angry and yet so easy to keep persisting in anger. Freed from it by choice, I found myself embracing the world in a new way. Perhaps it was rather like my old way, but it felt so new after the self-inflicted chains of anger.
I chose to let go and the person I set free was myself. Tomorrow I may struggle with that choice again and seek to pick up old shackles with which to bind myself. But maybe, just maybe, I will instead choose grace, freedom, and a large heart. Lord, may it be so.
“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”