Tender Anger: Sunday, Lent 3

As with any emotion, anger can be a map. Within the landscape of our life, the presence of anger reveals where our passions lie, whom we love, what we consider important.  Anger shows us where we are vulnerable, where there are cracks or wounds in our soul, where there is brokenness within us or around us. If we pay attention to what anger reveals about the terrain of our soul, it can help us find and create the path ahead.

Anger is also a messenger. It always has something to tell us about who we are and how we are connected with those around us. This is part of why anger can be so difficult and complicated: it reminds us what matters to us. We rarely become angry about something or someone we do not care about. In her groundbreaking essay "The Power of Anger in the Work of Love," Beverly Wildung Harrison writes, "Anger is not the opposite of love. It is better understood as a feeling-signal that all is not well in our relation to other persons or groups or to the world around us. Anger is a mode of connectedness to others and it is always a vivid form of caring." She goes on to write, "Where anger rises, there the energy to act is present."

When anger walks into my life and sits down at my table, I try to remember (eventually) to ask, "What is anger trying to tell me? What's the invitation here? What choice can I make that will lead me beyond feeling powerless? Is there a step I can take that will transform anger into action—for my own life, for the lives of those around me, for the life of the world?"

We close this week with a meditation from Sacred Journeys in which anger appears as a messenger and companion.

Anger Is a Woman

Anger is a woman
who has learned
that pleasantness
is not the way to peacefulness,
that silence
is not the way to strength.

Anger is a woman
who has learned
to breathe from her belly;
who waits at your door,
bringing you offerings;
who knows your true name
and gives it back to you.

She has lived on the streets.
She knows prisons
and alleys
and mud.

She has seen hungry children
and broken women
and desperate men
and spoken to them
in their own tongues.

They gave her a song.
She sings it to you.

Questions for reflection

How do you experience anger as a map or a messenger? What does your anger show you about the shape of your life and what you hold important and beloved? What invitations does anger offer to you? How might anger sing through you?


Blessed are you
who journey for a time
with Anger,
for you will know
the resurrection
that lies beyond.

Adapted from Sacred Journeys © Jan L. Richardson.

One Response to "Tender Anger: Sunday, Lent 3"

  1. Beth Knight says:

    Jan – so many women are afraid to be "seen" angry. Thankyou for this wise sharing and profound blessing. Such a wonderful lent post! May we also remember that Jesus himself was known to show anger 27 times. Namaste' – Beth Knight

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