Ooof. I walked into a church fellowship hall in Raleigh yesterday and a retired nurse stuck me with a dose of Dolly Parton’s COVID-19 vaccine. I cried all the way home with relief and catharsis. Then I got deeply, deeply angry. Again.
I am so angry at incompetence, selfishness, ignorance and what has felt – for the last year – like a collective shrug of the shoulders in the face of urgent emergency. I am working on tracing this anger to its root, and I am working on putting it to good use. It is very, very slow going.
Here’s what I do know: I can’t just choose not to be angry. This deep well of rage is not something I can dismiss or ignore. I think anger is good. It keeps me from despair. It makes room for the truth, as awful as the truth might be. It prevents me from reverting to the place where I was allowed to be blissfully unaware of the pain and grief of the world. And it keeps me alert to people and places who are acting with compassion, clarity and competence.
But I can’t live here in this state of sustained rage forever. I’m tired of being angry, tired of being presented with shiny new reasons for rage on a daily basis. I want this anger to be fuel, not poison. I want this rage to be met with receptivity and not disgust, companionship and not condescension.
I am still so angry. Are you?