Ever since Austin died, several people have asked, "Have you been angry yet?" Or they will state, "You may have not been angry yet, but be prepared, because you will at some point in time. It's part of grieving."
I would have to differ with them, regarding the statement about anger being part of grieving. Anger may be part of grieving for many, but not for all. In fact, everyone goes through the "stages" of grief in their own way, in their own time. And, some skip over areas completely.
Are You Angry?
When I think about whether I've been angry my answer comes quickly, "No, what am I suppose to be angry at?"
Am I suppose to be angry at Austin? Maybe, but I'm not, not even for a moment. I have never thought, "Austin, how could you leave us?" What I have thought is, "Austin, I am so sad you are gone and I miss you so very, very much." Because I do. He did not leave us on purpose. He did not head out Thursday morning for work thinking, "I'm going to crash my motorcycle today and die." I'm pretty sure the thought never crossed his mind, as he was driving to work on a beautiful, sunny morning, looking forward to going to Watkins Glen to build a stand for Dinosaur BBQ (his all time favorite restaurant). No, I'm not, nor ever have been, mad at Austin.
Am I suppose to be angry with God? Maybe, but I'm not. I have asked Him why he let Austin die. But I have never been mad at Him. God has never told us that we will live forever. He has never promised how long we will each live. What He has told us is that there will be troubles in this life, but that He will be there for us. He has given me strength to get through even my saddest days. There are times I have asked when will it stop, and informed Him that I am tired and ready for this sadness to end. I know it will eventually, but patience has never been one of my strong suits.
Am I suppose to be angry at the EMTs or hospital personnel? Maybe, but I'm not. I am certain each one of them did everything possible to save Austin. Unfortunately, sometimes there are injuries that cannot be fixed. I cannot imagine being a nurse, doctor, or medic and watching someone slip away, even while you're doing everything humanly possible to stop it.
No, I am not angry at anyone for Austin's death. Just very, very sad.
With that being said, what I have found myself doing, over the past couple of weeks, is having less and less patience for things that had already bothered me, even prior to Austin's death. I find myself getting "angry" at people for behaving in manners that I feel actually hurt others. My heart starts pounding, my body tenses, and I have to do everything in my power not to turn to them and say or ask, "Really? Are you really acting like this? Why?" or "Stop! Please, just stop!"
Faith and Love
Most who know me, know I have a strong faith. I believe in God and try to follow Him. And I believe that we need to love and accept others as they are. It is not our job to change them, just to love them - the same way we want to be loved. (The one exception, of course, is if you're a parent - then it's your job to teach, guide, and discipline your child. But, you really can't change them. You don't have a magic wand that you can waive and make them into something else. Although, at times you may want to. But you can influence them, heavily.)
Austin and I use to have conversations about how people, who call themselves Christians, can be so judgemental and hypocritical. I would remind him, that everyone is human, and we all have our flaws. We all have things we struggle with. The problem arises when we start pointing out what others are doing wrong, instead of looking at where we, ourselves, need minor (and sometimes major) adjustments. And for some reason, many "Christians" feel it's their job to point out what everyone else is doing wrong.
But remember, when we worry about everyone else, and not about ourselves, we miss what's important - to love each other - and not just when the other person is behaving how we think they are suppose to, but even when they're not. Over the past several weeks I have observed "Christians" act in very unloving ways and I have found my "anger" rising. I want to cry and ask, "Why? Why would you do that? Who do you think you are? Do you know what message that sends to others? Let me give you a hint: it's not love!" Then, I reflect on the discussions Austin and I used to have and how we can't let others' words and actions effect our faith and how we treat others. I remind myself to "just love".
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need. - Lyrics from "All You Need is Love" by The Beatles
"They will know we are Christians by our love." or will they? I smile, when I hear these lyrics, and think, "Or, will our judgemental attitude negate what we say? We say we love, but do we act like we love?
"My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:12-13
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrongs. - Proverbs 10:12
Why is it so much easier to cut people down, to be unforgiving, to be judgemental, than to love them up? Maybe, it's because when we stop finding faults in others we will have to look at our own faults and we don't like what we see. Heaven knows I have a lot of them!
Come on people now. Smile on your brother. Everybody get together, try to love one another, right now. - Lyrics from "Get Together" by The Youngbloods
So, am I angry? No!
Do I want people to love more? Absolutely!
What do I wonder? I wonder what would happen if we all started loving more and judging less?