It just happened. Her greatest nightmare was just realized. Her only son, barely even 14 years old, had just left her. After sprinting out the front door, while trying to pull up his drooping jeans, he melted into the darkness of the night. The sound of honking horns, screeching rail trains, and the hustle and bustle of the Chicago nightlife, had drowned out her all of her desperate pleas for him to stay.
As she dejectedly closed the door and collapsed to the ground in tears, she began slapping her head furiously over and over again. “It is all my fault! I am such a failure! I should have never gotten angry at him for joining that stupid gang. Why do people always disappear when I get angry?”
As she continued to pummel herself physically and emotionally, her thoughts drifted back to the last time she ever saw her dad. She remembering peeking through the thin slit of the open door to her bedroom. She saw her mom and dad engaged in a volatile screaming match in the dimly lit kitchen. When the yelling finally subsided, her father was nowhere to be found. He had vanished into thin air; just like her son.
Even though she spent a lifetime desperately suppressing every ounce of anger that smoldered inside of her, tonight it accidentally slipped out. She yelled at him for the first time in all his life, because she caught him stealing money from her purse to buy drugs.
As she tearfully reached for a bottle of wine in hopes of extinguishing every trace of emotion she felt; especially anger. She was suddenly startled by a timid knock on her door. As she hesitantly opened it, she was suddenly embraced in a flood of tears, hugs, and heart-felt apologies. It was her son. And she was wrong. Anger doesn’t always make people disappear.
Anger is not a radioactive substance that vaporizes relationships and people from our lives. The expression of it is simply an indicator of differences in values, perspectives, or life choices. Instead of driving people away, anger has the potential to draw a relationship even closer together. It does this by creating an opportunity for people to accept one another despite these differences.