Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thursday Noontime Thoughts and Prayers

All self-understanding arises from understanding ourselves as spiritual beings, and it is only contact with the universal Holy Spirit that can give us the depth and the breadth to understand ... The way to this is not difficult. It is very simple. But it does require serious commitment.
-John Main, OSB, “Space to Be,” from MOMENT OF CHRIST

Sometimes I simply don't understand myself. I don't understand things that I do, things that I say or things that I think. People driving cars around me brings out this part of me that I don't understand. I get angry with people who drive - especially if they drive too slowly in front of me, try to occupy the same lane I'm occupying or generally do any other sort of stupid driver trick whenever I'm around them. I turn into an angry, seething mess.

I don't understand me.

I'm a nice person, really. I'd do anything for you if you needed it. If one of those drivers who made me mad needed me, I'd be there - bygones being bygones. But, I'm simply short tempered when I sit behind a wheel of a car. I see everyone else as either a proven or a potential idiot.

Which is not to say I'm the smartest driver on the road. I've done plenty of stupid things behind the wheel of a vehicle. I know I'm not the sharpest spike in the road some days and I probably make someone else's proven or potential idiot list plenty of days. But, I don't understand that angry person who takes the wheel most days. I don't get her. Where does it come from? What's my beef with other drivers?

When I get in the car, I guess I lock the Holy Spirit in the trunk - then crank the CD player up so I can't hear all the banging around back there. I'm sure we all have areas of our lives where we disconnect from Spirit - even if it's just for the commute to work. Why do we do that? Why do we disconnect ourselves from the very power that can give us the breadth and depth to understand - even those dark, angry places inside of us.

I've made a vow to give the Holy Spirit the passenger seat whenever I slide back into the car for my next drive. Perhaps I'll lock my angry self in the trunk and H.S. and I can crank it up to 11 and rock to Springsteen on the way home.

Feel free to post your thoughts, prayers and praises!


s.w.anderson said...

I have a bad temper, too, and I totally know what you mean about being a nice person and wondering where the outburst came from. At least I lose mine much less frequently than I used to. There's going to be quite a bit in my book about overcoming anger; basically, what works for me is to rant and rave privately for a minute or two to dissipate the rage, then to take deep breaths and with each exhalation to simply let go of the anger and turn it over to God and ask him to take it away. Also, I send up lots of petitionary prayers asking God to simply replace that part of my personality with something holier! Those prayers have been answered quite a bit, although I'm still a work in progress.

If you're familiar with Jung's idea of the shadow side of our personalities, I thought about it when you were talking about not recognizing yourself when you have a case of road rage.

I wanted to ask you---the first time I wrote a comment in this blog (to the 10-30 post), your reply suggested that you hadn't received the email I had sent you on 10-27 about my proposed article, so I tried to send it again the evening of 11-5. If you didn't get it either time, something must be wrong with our email connection. I made certain I had the right address, editor at ???

Blessings on you this evening!


Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

I understand, Sara. I, too, am better than I was. There was a time when I was convinced that I would die in a road rage incident before I turned 30. I was terrible and had many confrontations.

Now, I let a lot slide that would have enraged me before.

I have heard of the shadow side - I just wish it didn't like to drive. :)

I got your email and have send you a reply!

s.w.anderson said...

Hahaha, you wish it didn't like to drive.

This is kind of beside the point of the spiritual problem of rage, but for me, when I first started sporting a political bumper sticker on my car (Kerry/Edwards, a Stronger America), I became MUCH better instantly regarding the outward expression of my feelings---because just THINK what horrible publicity it would be for the party! Especially down here where most people hate "liberals" anyway! I think I've only flipped one person off in the 3 1/2 years that I've had the sticker.

But of course, spiritually it's just as bad for me to be banging my fists and practically ripping the steering wheel out of its base. At least it is true that this only happens a fraction of the time it used to happen.

Thanks for your email---will answer soon. Have a great weekend.

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

Heh, I wish I could control myself that well. I put a "clergy" sticker on the back of my car hoping it would make me less likely to give the international sign of friendship, but no luck. There are too many people driving around my area telling their friends, "this preacher flipped me off today." Or else they just think the car was stolen ... ;)

s.w.anderson said...

I guess I do have a lot of self-control, at least for someone with a bad temper. But your road rage does seem to be somewhat more extensive than mine.

I'm very curious to know whether your anger is limited to road rage or whether it occurs in other situations as well. ???

Heidi said...

I took the pink peace sign magnet off of my car because . . . it made me feel like a hypocrite . . . or was it that I felt too identifiable . . . was afraid that I would be recognized and tracked down for road rage? Last week I was so angry at this guy that I followed him into his subdivision - not a block away from Eddy's church. I felt absolutely out of control. I hate it. . . this side of myself. Where does this come from?

Maybe we all just need permanent access to our very own hot tub. ?

Enjoy yours this weekend!

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

Heidi, I feel your pain, believe me. I stood toe to toe with a guy who scraped my bumper in traffic one day. We called each other everything but a child of God. We had to swap info when the police came. The next day, I had two flat tires. They guy came to my house and flattened my tires. Talk about road rage! That was the turning point for me. I try not to lose control like that - but it's hard.

I think stupid drivers insult our sense of justice. That's the closest I can come to explaining it. We want the world to be just and when someone gets away with scraping our bumper - and then coming to our house and further damaging our property - it just puts our sense of justice out of kilter.

I'm a lot happier since I let go of the need to be right and have everything balance the scales.

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

Oh, and the hot tub has been fabulous! Along with the great internet access in the cabin. Disconnected and connected all at once! Woo hoo!