Note: This post is the first in a series. Each one describes a short lesson taught to me by friends, family members, acquaintances, and others.
A few years ago I was angry at someone. Incredibly angry. I wanted to hurt this person so that they might feel some of the pain that I was feeling.
I had a plan in mind. It was mean, it was spiteful, and it was petty. But I still wanted to do it.
Fortunately, I had managed to keep at least some of my wits. One of these wits nudged me to contact my old friend and colleague, Patriarch Shaun McCann and reveal to him my fiendish plot.
+Shaun listened to my ranting. He replied by saying “You know, sometimes when we are angry and hurt and want to take action, we need to take a step back. We need to consider not whether the person who has made us so angry is worthy of a particular action, but whether that particular action is worthy of us.”
(Forgive the cliche, but those words stopped me cold.)
I was justifiably angry. But the action I had planned was, as stated above, petty, spiteful, and mean. It didn’t need to happen, and I didn’t need to become the person who would do such a thing.
(And thanks to the words of a friend, I didn’t.)
+Shaun’s words still occasionally resonate at the back of my mind as I continue to navigate a full and busy life. Anger arises, annoyance takes hold. Occasionally, very occasionally, rage threatens to consume. But I remember that I don’t have to hand control of my self to my feelings or thoughts. I can know the worth of my values and act accordingly.