“Then came Peter to him and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Seven times? Jesus said unto him, I say not to you, Until seven times, but until seventy times seven (countless times)”. Matthew 8:21-22
Just when I think that I have finally let go and forgiven someone for something that they have either knowingly but most of the time unknowingly done to hurt me or make me angry, another incident will crop up and push me over the edge again.
Since becoming a widow, I have experienced more anger than at any other time in my life. My personality is such that all these years I would rather stuff my anger and hide it under the carpet than show it and possibly hurt someone by facing them and telling them just how they made me feel. It has always been all about making everyone else comfortable and happy. But one thing that the death of my husband is teaching me is that this practice has not been healthy for me. In fact, it is horrible for me. Now I feel like a virtual Pandora’s box has been opened and I am being forced for the first time in my life to deal with not only my past anger but my present hurts and anger.
Dealing with anger means forgiveness. Because my anger about something seems to ebb and flow, I am finding that I might have to start over every five minutes, but the point is TO START. Just start. I cannot do what I have always done and STUFF my anger. I have got to face it, deal with it, and then start to forgive and then do that over and over and over again if necessary.
I thought my way of stuffing all the anger felt very comfortable. Yet, I am finding that underneath the lid of my box a kettle of hot water had been simmering for years and the cover of that pot was blown off when my husband died. At first I was demure, but soon things began to erupt around me and I had to take off my coat of “pleaser” and become someone that I have never been before – “dealer” and “forgiver”.
It has not been an easy change to make and sometimes it takes me days and even hours of driving to process and then do what needs to be done. But, with God’s help, I am getting there and starting over – every five minutes if necessary.
Have you as a widow experienced anger that has surprised and shocked you?