For Warmth

I hold my face between my hands
no   I am not crying

I hold my face between my hands
to keep my loneliness warm
two hands protecting
two hands nourishing
two hands to prevent

my soul from leaving me
in anger

Our Responsibility

While there may be differing degrees of direct involvement in evil, rendering some more guilty than others, there is no point at which any of us may claim total exemption. Some are directly guilty, for example, of the ongoing humiliation of people of color—they pass antiracial laws, or they refuse to enforce existing nondiscriminatory racial antagonism, or they speak and write against minority groups. While some are directly guilty of such things, all are responsible for their continuing. Those who acquiesce in the evil done by others bear responsibility for that evil. Those who remain quiet when the demagogue speaks give their support to the demagogue. Those who remain indifferent to the quiet voices of hatred encourage such voices to speak more loudly.

Giving Anger to God

[Destructive] anger crucifies Christ. Destructive anger is our sickness. Our medicine is God’s taking our anger. If we do not give it to God we are not healed of it. We are in bondage to our anger and are not free until our resentment is buried in God. Yes, as shocking as it sounds, we worship God by expressing our honest anger at God.

A Signal

Anger is a signal, and one worth listening to. Our anger may be a message that we are being hurt, that our rights are being violated, that our needs and wants are not being adequately met, or simply that something is not right. Our anger may tell us that we are not addressing an important emotional issue in our lives, or that too much of our self—our beliefs, values, desires or ambitions—is being compromised in a relationship. Our anger may be a signal that we are doing more and giving more than we can comfortably do or give. Or our anger may warn us that others are doing too much for us, at the expense of our own competence and growth…. Our anger can motivate us to say “no” to the ways in which we are defined by others and “yes” to the dictates of our inner self.

Reflexive Responses

We may need to consider a little abstinence from our automatic, reflexive responses of being helpful to others…. Let us say that someone we know is suffering. Perhaps this person is grieving, or having financial problems or has just discovered his or her spouse is having an affair. We feel compassion and care for our friend; we want to do something to help. So far, so good; our hearts are compassionate, feeling the other person’s pain and wanting to respond in a helping way. But immediately [we feel] it is time to put the desire into action, and our addictions of helpfulness are triggered. In a very computer-like way, our internal programs of what-to-do-in-a-situation-like-this are accessed and run. We don’t even take the time to see which program is called for. There is no time. We must be about the business of being helpful.