Rage has led me to courageous things, though I never thought of it that way until Glennon Doyle whispered wisdom into my ears – ok, she didn’t really whisper them to me, but she did share them with the thousands of people who listen to her podcast – There is always a little rage in courage.
Rage has prompted me to play with time. Rage has provoked me to toy with stillness. Rather than playing tag with rage – in which I am always the one getting tagged – I have decided to invite rage to swing with me, to slide down the tall metal slide with me, to climb around the domed jungle gym with me. Our playtime together has taught (and is still teaching) me a few lessons.
Just a few months ago, rage was a bully I cowered to. Rage had control over me.
I was enraged that my career stole so much of my time – both physical time and mental time. My energy was zapped from the never ending game of tag. When I finally reached home, I collapsed on the sofa out of breath dreading another work day – which fed the rage I had toward exhaustion. Exhaustion stole so much time.
I was enraged that loss, grief, and trauma hurt so much. The tears, the broken heart, the challenging God debilitate the mind, body, and spirit and feed the rage more and more.
I was enraged that a busy mind stole precious time. It was so bad that I started to become enraged when I gave time to helping others. And, that’s where I had to draw the line. Helping others once filled my spirit and fueled my energy for life – not to mention my career is centered on helping young people.
My emotions were volatile. Time was spinning out of control, and this game of tag with rage absorbed 97% of my day. Every. Single. Day. I had to outsmart the bully, and my gut was telling me how to do it. I just had to find the courage to take action. For weeks, I weighed the pros and cons. Finally, on an afternoon walk with my husband, I swallowed the lump in my throat and put the idea out into the universe.
“I think I need therapy.”
I was afraid to admit it. I was afraid that admitting I needed a therapist made me weak. I was afraid that admitting I needed help would make my husband think I didn’t need him or want his help. I was afraid to spend money on therapy when we live on an “every cent assigned” budget.
After weeks of searching and failed attempts, I finally found a therapist that met my criteria, that accepted my insurance, that I could afford, and that was accepting new clients. Though I was grateful for this privilege, rage continued to test me.
I was enraged at how much time finding a therapist took. After all, time is a nonrenewable resource.
I was enraged at the cost of therapy. Therapists deserve to be paid. I’m not mad about paying, but folks shouldn’t have to make a six figure income to afford it.
I was enraged that many therapists didn’t take insurance. Insurance that I pay for – that I pay good money for. Mental health therapists should be accessible for ALL people. Period.
The fear of asking for and receiving help enraged me. I am a caretaker. I help people. They don’t help me. However, when I decided to choose courage over fear and invited rage to the swingset, rage encouraged me. To swing in silence with it. To be gentle with it. To explore the playground with it. And, though rage and I still have a complicated relationship, we also have a graceful relationship. Like all bullies, when power is removed, they no longer have control.
I am learning it takes courage to keep moving forward, but it also takes courage to stop moving. Rage introduced me to stillness, and stillness has made all the difference (along with therapy, of course). In a world overflowing with more opinions than facts, more superficial lives than real ones, more pointing fingers than embracing love, stillness has become my antidote for anxiety and my fortress. Stillness leads me to gratitude which restores my hope in life, love, and the world. Stillness is helping me find humor in life again. It’s helping me see again. It’s helping me be more present with the ones I love. It’s helping me heal. It’s helping me feed my own soul as well as the desire to feed others. There are days when rage finds the power to bully me, but stillness, like a parent who knows better, calls us back to the swing set. On the swing set, rage becomes courage.