After I published my last post about my anger at God, I got a comment from Teresa, who mentioned that she was also experiencing some anger at/with God. However, she also mentioned the loss of her mom, and coming to terms with that loss, and that got me thinking.
We have the ability to experience a number of different emotions: anger, rage, hate, love, joy, bliss, etc. The list is actually quite long if you consider the subtle shadings of each. We can experience one emotion at a time, or several emotions simultaneously. Sometimes we can feel two emotions at the same time that are seemingly opposite of one another, and yet, we do, and both are genuine. And sometimes we replace one emotion with another because we are more comfortable expressing that particular emotion than the one we are actually feeling. As a therapist, I've seen that happen time and time again in therapy sessions. As an individual, I've done it myself. It's interesting to me that anger is the emotion that most people turn to, quite unintentionally, I'm sure, to release other emotions they are not quite as comfortable expressing.
Teresa's comment about the loss of her mother made me take a deeper look at my own anger, and what I've discovered is that although I may be angry, I am more sad than angry. I realize that I am revisiting the losses I've experienced over the years as I sort through the accumulated belongings that are remnants and reminders of things from the past, and that have to be packed up or discarded in preparation for this move: the ending of my marriage, the loss of my father in 1987 before he ever saw me as successful, the ending of a relationship that never culminated in the proposal I so dearly wanted, the loss of my first real adult best friend in 2003, when my evolving 'gifts' made her too uncomfortable and she decided she couldn't be my friend anymore, the loss of my mother in 2008, the closing of my office in 2012, as I took another fork in the road.
I'm also already grieving the loss of all that I have here in Pittsburgh: my friends, my business, my home, my proximity to the cemetery where my parents are buried and where I go when I just need a destination to head toward when the urge to 'get out of Dodge' hits. Where will I go when that urge hits and I'm in Nashville?
I'm grieving the dreams I had for my house when I moved into it twenty years ago that I was never able to manifest: fixing up the basement as a family room, fixing the water problem in the basement, buying new curtains and new furniture, planting beautiful flower beds, updating the bathroom...the list goes on.
Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to be going to Nashville and starting fresh. I know there are new experiences and new relationships waiting for me. I know there are wonderful things ahead that I can't even begin to imagine. But in order for there to be new beginnings, there have to be endings, and in order for me to walk through this new door, I have to grieve the things that I'm leaving behind, and I have to revisit the losses from the past, from a new and different perspective, because I'm not the same person I used to be.
But grieving is hard work, and it leaves me feeling vulnerable, and I don't like feeling vulnerable. So I think I chose to be angry at God, rather than acknowledge my sadness, because anger is a very strong emotion. I can't ever recall seeing an angry person and thinking that he or she was vulnerable. Angry people are people to be reckoned with, people you want to get out of the way of, people who seem larger than life because of the fuel of that angry energy. I wanted to be bigger, not smaller, as I prepared for this move, and when I feel vulnerable, I feel small, and insignificant, and without purpose. But that's just how I feel, not who I am, and I need to recognize the difference between the two and allow myself to grieve whatever I need to grieve. I don't want to be unpacking that grief when I get to Nashville. I want to be unpacking my bliss, so that I can move forward and embrace all the amazing and wonderful experiences and opportunities that I know God has in store for me!
So if I have to soak a few more tissues for a while, so be it! I'm determined to do what I need to do, to close this door, and walk through the new one.