Anger. Oh my, I just remembered that a consequence of doing contemplative prayer is a bubbling up of anger. I’ve been small and dark for the past couple of days, anger fueling it all along. There is no real reason for it, no injustice inflicted. It just is and I find myself blaming others for how I feel, blaming others for why I feel this way. ‘Tis a bad spot and not altogether foreign, for I used to be this way frequently (horrors to horrors!). My kids used to have a nickname for me that was coupled with a small mean faced plastic figurine that used to sit on the kitchen sink’s window sill which they must have gotten in a bubblegum machine–“Mad Mom”. We still have that figurine somewhere (junk drawer probably), but the nickname has faded off. Sometimes we resurrect it for a good laugh or when the kids catch a scent of that beastly maternal figure from long ago and far away. The fact that she is more a memory than an ever present reality is a credit to the healing God has mercifully blessed me with. My eyes well up when I think of His mighty mercy in my life.
I smell her now, although I don’t funnel my anger at the kids for they are practically gone. My husband is getting it. He doesn’t know it for I sit on it, but it festers, festers, festers… I’m practically demonizing my husband. Ewww!
Now I have a better idea why it is here, for with contemplative prayer what is buried bubbles up. In prayer like this God comes and scoops up the pain, comes and scours the sides, comes and scrapes, scrapes, scrapes. It is a purging practice, contemplation is. God gets space to work, for we invite Him into the deep recesses.
I’ve read that when small and dark places surface many people quit this prayer practice. It is too painful, too hard. It is much easier to stay on the surface, to keep things tucked away and not allow them to come up. It is difficult to be so aware. I wonder if they know what to do with the pain, with the anger. I’d hope so, but nowadays many are beckoned to “quiet time with God” by voices who probably don’t know enough to warn the pray-er of things like this. So anger bubbles up and prayer ceases. A lose/lose situation for everyone.
As I recall from long ago readings, one is to acknowledge the emotion and lift it to God for healing. Ask Him for whatever is needed for healing, for a purging of the anger. Be in the anger, but don’t feed it…just be aware of it and ask Him to transform it into something beautiful, ask Him to replace it with Himself. We sometimes forget but Jesus came to heal people, to pluck out that which keeps us from God.
I’m ever so grateful God has reminded me of this from past reading (years and years ago now). Must mean He wants me to stay in it, to not stop this kind of prayer now. Oh boy, here I go…God help me!
(Contemplative prayer update: well, you’ve got it above, really. The prayer times are usually lifegiving times with God…peaceful, quiet, etc. It is the stuff like you see above that often comes along that makes me want to run. I need to pray yet today…oh well, I suppose…:-)