Saturday, October 10, 2009

Crossing the line of idiocy...

I lost it yesterday.

It doesn’t happen often, but I lost my cool. Whenever this happens I feel like an ass, and rightfully so. I could explain why it happened, but I have found that most often this turns into a vain attempt to justify stupidity. There may be some out there who could relate to my frustration and even offer affirmation that my behavior was understandable, but that just feeds my desire to be exonerated for being a jerk. The bottom line is that it’s just embarrassing; a lot of shouting and poor choice of verbage.  Let’s leave it at that.

My personal attempt to reflect on why I wigged out (thank you, son, for that awesome new terminology) and identify a cause and effect has been, as in past occurrences, difficult. Again, it is often an attempt to identify the actions of others as a cause of my own poor behavior. I find that the older I get the fewer these instances of sputtering stupidity occur, but my desire to prevent them by understanding them has increased.

Fr. Jack Mattimore, S.J., part-time chaplain of St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy and wise by any standard, has oft repeated that yelling, screaming, shouting and other forms of expression for the man or woman in the process of wigging out is never of God. He is certain that incidents such as these are manifestations of the wages of sin, and sometimes the direct influence of evil. We experience high-decibel expressions of negativity on a regular basis at St. Luke’s; unfortunately, not always originating among those we serve. Judge not the poor missionary…he is not immune to disappointment, frustration, and anger.

I am not sure if my particular case was influenced by demonic forces, but I am quite certain that at no point did I consider whether my outbursts were good and holy. At the moment, I believe I really didn’t care, which in my estimation is about as close to evil as I am capable of coming (this is not a vain challenge to Satan, for I am well aware of my powerlessness without God’s grace).

Righteous anger such as displayed by Our Lord toward the money-changers and merchants in the temple are not part and parcel of this discussion. The anger I experienced was not directed at irreverence, blasphemy or sin. It was all about me…what I wanted, what I didn’t get, and how pissed off I wanted everyone to know I was.

“A man of wrath stirs up strife, and a man given to anger causes much transgression."
- Proverbs 29:22
Proverbs hit the nail on the head – my outburst brought a chain of misunderstandings, anger, and squabbles throughout the remainder of the evening. I recognize that I created that mood, that atmosphere. That recognition is a hard pill to swallow.

Confession. Contrition. Penance. That’s what I’ve got, thank God, to get me beyond my transgression. I apologized to the recipient of the majority of my ire, and she graciously accepted. Looking at angry outbursts as devoid of God’s grace is a hard thing to do, but it gives me the good sense to recognize my penchant for sin and need for forgiveness.

“Good sense makes a man slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense”.
- Proverbs 19:11


  1. Don't even need to know the specifics, friend, we've all been there.

  2. Not making excuses here ... anger may well have been prompted by tiredness, frustration, hunger and many other physical triggers. Sometimes it is good for us to let off steam ... by keeping things in and appearing calm, cool and collected ("stiff upper lip old boy" as they say in the UK) we do ourselves more harm.

    God bless.

  3. I agree with your comment, Victor, and do on occasion let off steam. This instance, though was different in that it was an opportunity to lash out, re-hash old hurts, and just be a plain old jerk. Being angry is one thing, being mean is another. I was mean. I think that is the difference.

  4. I have been known to wig out - but usually in the school parking lot in the privacy of my car where I yell out all the things I wanted to say, but would probably get fired for saying.

    Losing it is not a happy feeling.

    We've all been there.

    Sometimes I find when I really slip in any way - anger or otherwise - it makes me realize that maybe I'm not as "good" as I sometimes seem to begin thinking I am. Sort of like the mule in that old joke who needs a whack on the heads with a 2 by 4 to get his attention.

  5. Very honest post. Been there too, I am afraid. Praise God, His mercy is bigger than us and anything we do. God bless.

  6. I was there on Tuesday last week at lunch time. I totally identify. What a great post.


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