I am angry and I feel slighted and perhaps, I’m being childish;
but I want to pout and stamp my foot and behave inappropriately.
At the same time, I know this is beneath me,
that I can and should rise above. The issue at hand
is of no consequence. I am literally upset over nothing,
a minor inconvenience, but my pride is hurt.
Even if the issue was something grand – as there are
many grand outrages unfurling around me.
There is a part of me that knows:
There IS a decent way to behave,
there IS a noble high ground.
There Can be substance in a debate
regardless of the behavior of others.
I can hold myself accountable.
It is my responsibility to keep myself
from becoming completely unhinged
and baring my fangs to the world.
In a world increasingly set on automatic Boil-Over,
where grown-ups are fist fighting in Parliament,
where leaders and politicians are physically attacking;
our civic dialogue has degenerated to drunken brawl behavior.
It would be so easy to jump in and stoop to that level.
Because even at that stage, someone with a vocabulary
could be fierce, could dominate, could over-power.
But inside, there is a place of fighting calm,
a place resistant to aggression.
There is a pool of serenity, and the waters are troubled.
There is quaking and furrowing of brows,
there are pensive lips, there is a storm of uncertainty.
And then the realization that this is the beauty
and the challenge of spiritual growth. As uncomfortable
as this feels – this struggle; the wrestling between
what we feel and how we want to feel,
the fact we know how we would like to address this issue;
all the while having our wayward inner child
screeching and frothing at the mouth.
To Know there is a better way is half the battle.
To have a compass pointing toward the path
of the soft answer, and the spirit cleansed
in the fires of love. It is not easy.
It is not sappy or pat answer. It is a ferocious calm
and a low, sustained, rumbling growl
from the throat of Aslan that keeps me,
that holds my words in check,
that guides my attitudes in times of trouble.
And I am not strong in Peace.
I am still clawing my way up that wall,
but my solace is that I know where I stand
in the midst of the turbulence.
I am a beginner at this transcendent stuff,
a novice, a tiny grasshopper – but there are seeds of love
that have been planted, there is discipline being learned.
I stand with love and growing up.
Eventually, I may even have the self-control,
the wisdom, the sense
to do in every situation exactly what is needed.