Friday, August 8, 2008


The last comment I read was the following:

Bless you for being an example. I know that "suffering is part of the human experience" and I know that I too will face trials that may bring the same kind of unimaginable heartache that you've experienced....I fear that I'll be angry with God. I hope that I'm strong enough to see His Plan. Do you every feel angry?

God's Blessings to you!

Ann in Missouri 

Thank you for the question Ann. I would like to respond to this publicly. 

As a senior in high school I remember a seminary lesson we had on anger. I think we were discussing Jesus in the New Testament and his righteous indignation. I don't remember the whole lesson. I just remember my teacher Bro. Strobelt asserting that we can choose whether we get angry or not. Being the head strong opinionated know it all I was (and sometimes still am), I took him to task on this assertion.

"You can choose how you feel! You can't control your emotions," I said. "Emotions just come to you and they are natural and there is nothing wrong with feeling a certain way." I never took a psych class but I would guess they would teach something like this in more eloquent and academic terms.

He stood his ground firmly. "You can control how you feel. You can master your own emotions and tame the natural man," he said. He then gave the example of how if someone does something mean to you, you have a choice. You can choose to feel hurt or you can choose to feel angry. Most people don't like feeling the hurt. Given the choice most humans choose anger because it is easier than the hurt. But you can choose to feel hurt instead and the anger will leave if you make that choice.

That was his basic argument, if not his exact words (it has been some years since then.) I was still doubtful about his theory. Nonetheless, I pondered his assertion and decided to try his theory out. Over the next few years I thought of this lesson each time I felt angry. Time after time, I found that really I was hurt and letting anger take over so I wouldn't have to feel the hurt. I made a conscious effort to let myself feel the hurt instead of the anger. Amazingly, it worked--almost without fail. I really can't remember the last time I was really angry. (Okay maybe I can -- my kids can get me angry or at least frustrated, or at least they used to be able to before -- that is a subject for another post)

Now to answer the question of the comment. I know anger is one of the five steps of grief and it is very common for people to feel angry. I am not saying that it is wrong to feel that emotion as a part of grief. But I think all these years of practicing being hurt rather than angry have helped me skip over that part of the grief process. 

In short, No. I have never for a moment felt angry at anyone. Not anyone in my family, not Camille, not the situation, and certainly not at God. I had a moment the first night after the accident when Camille was in the hospital where I felt a fierce fighting feeling. I was praying with a fierceness I never had before, willing with my whole soul that she would be made well. But I wouldn't call that feeling anger. 

My life has been so blessed. Even taking this trial into account I am so incredibly in the debt of the Lord. I know where I stand before the Lord so there is no anger in my heart. 

I think of Mary, the mother of the Savior. She was so young when she was told she was going to have a child. This news rocked her world and put the whole of her future happiness in jeopardy. This was a great blessing wrapped in a terrifying trial. My situation is not much different in that aspect. There are great blessings in the midst of this incredibly painful trial. 

Even as early as my time in the hospital with Camille before we knew whether or not Camille would live, I felt to echo the wise words of mother-to-be Mary, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." Luke 1:38Image