The tongue has the power of life and death.
Crisis has brought out the volcano in me. I erupt, cover the landscape with lava, emit smithereens of debris on my warpath. Fortunately, I am over exaggerating. In retrospect, I could have striven through my world these last two plus years in volcano form. However, being a seeker of self-truth all my life, I have become an expert in knowing myself. I know my motives at all times. My self-truth. My vulnerabilities, in particular. With this type of knowledge, I have reaped a good bounty of self-control. I remember in my (pre-therapy) younger years, I was a volcano. This out-of-control characteristic gave me a self-centered, fake sense of control. A meltdown would give me an instant of relief, but the consequences far outweighed the cheap moment of gratification.
One of the best depictions of the different types of anger is compiled by Roger Fritz, MS, Life Coach in downloadable form.
Living through crisis can be a cheap copout for volcanic behaviors, but is it really healthy, productive and proactive? Yes, it can be a period of sleeping less, doing more; certainly feeling less than optimal, but does that give a license to deliver poor behavior to those around me? Years ago, nearly thirty to be exact, I started working very hard at being responsible for my own behavior. In the end, or somewhere in the middle of this very intense period of self-discovery, I decided that I wanted to inspire people from the inside out and NOT kill them—despite what I was going through or feeling at any given moment. Since I had spent my adolescence in darkness, I promised God that I would walk for the rest of my years, to the best of my ability, spreading light. In essence, I made a conscious decision to become the mirror of my world.
To bring this idea into the present, a couple of weeks ago, I had a doctor’s appointment. I had rushed to the office, arrived fifteen minutes early in the hopes that I would get out early and meet up with the “gals” for some needed downtime. Well, nearly an hour later and too late to meet my social plans, the receptionist finally called me into the office. The minute I walked into the room, admittedly, I was ready to tear into the ultrasound tech whom I encountered. In no uncertain terms, I told her I was mad as hell.
She started to apologize, saying, “I’m sorry. I know you are mad. You have every right to be. We are running behind…it was out of our control. Every patient had unforeseen problems that we had to deal with.”
Then full-knowing that I did not want to bust this woman with my lava outpour, I said, “Look, I don’t want to explode. It’s not your fault. It’s been a tough week…weeks…actually, it’s been a couple of really tough years.”
“Yeah, me too,” she responded to my disbelief.
This began a intense dialogue between us, reminding me that I wasn’t the only one in the world having to deal with crisis. As it turned out, not only was she falling apart physically—knee replacement and so on—mind you she was only in her 40s—but she had been on the brink of homelessness! Imagine an ultrasound technician who couldn’t find employment for five years. What a sad state of affairs. The more this woman revealed, the more I realized that God constantly was at work in my life. Instead of having a cheap moment of exploding at this woman as if she were a punching bag or other object to use selfishly, I got to know her for who she was—a mirror of my own vulnerabilities, my own humanness, my own weaknesses—and strengths. Our intense encounter brought me hope—and faith. We faced life’s loaded gun chambers and didn’t flinch. We stood up to them as victors not victims.
Although I had to nix my evening plans, I walked out of the doctor’s office with a bounce. I realized how this woman had strengthened my faith with her honesty and empathy. For the ninth hundredth time, I learned that I was not doing the arduous journey alone; that I did have the company of fellow travelers. One of the tricks, though, to meet these voyagers is to just be myself…in human terms, not volcanic proportions; the payoff is by not getting stuck in darkness as deep as lava, I am able to move forward on a path lit with superabundant light.
Until next time….Faith forward