One of my favorite authors I often quote wrote a book on the emotion, of what I would call righteous anger, and how it affects individuals and societies.
For not only does anger affect those in the military and ordinary people everywhere, it is raging in the Middle East. The most famous of the quotes of John Steinbeck's book, The Grapes of Wrath, written about the Great Depression which hit the United States during the 1930s and produced great anger, followed by despair, is:
"...and in the eyes of the people there is the failure: and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage."
I think this is the best, most relevant, and insightful thing Jacey has ever written, because of how it ties not only to an individual's response to the world around her, but to the state of the world in general. I think most of her pieces are exceptional, but none so touch the epicenter of problems in our world as this one does. I think that anger like this so silences us sometimes as Jacey refers to, because we are afraid of sliding into it ourselves, or afraid that whatever she or he is angry at is legitimate, and that it can happen to us too. I have been to that tumultuous anger place, over both personal and global matters, and it is located right next door to utter despair. We have to be careful never to give it free rein, or terrible, terrible things can happen, such as the Soldier who stole out of the base in Afghanistan and murdered innocent people.
I am one of those people who believes that when we suffer loss of any kind, whether it is due to illness, an unfaithful spouse, the death of a child, or any other of life's great pitfalls, that we go through the five stages of grief taught by most of the therapists of our day. I think we should be allowed them, but that the very certain danger is that getting stuck in any one of those stages can rob us of our lives, and literally so concerning the stage of anger.
I think we who are military spouses have to have tools, skills we have developed for just such times in our little tool boxes. After all, we have learned a great deal about such strategies from the same military our husbands serve in. That is what FRG is SUPPOSED to be all about, preparation for deployment, that doesn't mean just getting the Power of Attorney in place. The situation one is facing of course doesn't always have to do with deployments, it can just as easily be related to any injustice or loss we encounter in our lives. Injustices, and noting the failures of society around us can also cause such anger. I think the single greatest contributing factor to anger is found in the loss of control of a situation. Of course many times it is anger itself that leads to loss of control. I think of the woman who was a military serviceperson herself, and married a Soldier who then spent years in the intelligence side of the military. One day something inside of her led her to taking a gun and shooting both of her teenage children dead. I am certain she loved them dearly, and that anger with free reign in her life, led to her utter despair.
I use to think to myself when I would tell my mother some "horrible injustice" that someone had done to me, how dumb she was when she said, "Debra, that is indeed so sad and I am sorry it happened to you, but be careful not to love it, to stroke it, to feed it, and to name it George." (That quote she got from an old Buggs Bunny cartoon.) Look around you for someone in worse shape than you, with more burden than yours, and reach out to them and pretty soon, you will forget your own troubles. Never would she allow me to find in her attention that would feed and give reason to parking in my anger, grief, or pain. My mother is a wise woman. Every time I would find myself giving into her urging, even though I really didn't want to. Without exception that concept of hers worked every, single, time.
That is not to say that the disappointments and losses of our own lives, even the little things are not of importance, that is just one of the tools my mother was talking about for lifting us from the quagmire that anger can become. Probably the best advice of all about anger is "Do not allow the sun to go down on your anger," which is from the Bible. It supports my own finding about anger in my life, and Jacey's too. Tomorrow I wish to explore more the phenomenon of anger in societies, especially those of the Middle Eastern cultures. This is such an important subject for all of mankind. Thank you Jacey for expertly bringing to the surface a subject tied to so much in our personal lives and our world.