So I have a characteristic that’s alternately a strength and a failing: I’m hopelessly transparent. If I’m happy, everyone knows; if I’m angry, everyone knows that too (though I’m more a sullen than stormy type). I find it absolutely impossible to conceal my feelings, and if I’m angry at someone, I cannot be nice to that person. While this does prevent me from being a back-stabber, it also makes for very tense situations when I’m forced to deal with someone I don’t like.
Fortunately, I’m rarely in these situations; mine is a fairly sheltered and even blissful existence, relationship-wise. My roommates and close friends are wonderful and bring out the best in me. But, unfortunately, there are also people who bring out the absolute worst in me. I really don’t like who I am around them, and I don’t want to be who I become, but I just can’t seem to be anything but a venomous shrew. This emotional tug-of-war only renders me even more tense and less able to reign in the hateful tendencies that are revealed during these times. (Like C. S. Lewis’s cellar rats, these tendencies appear to be gone, sometimes for a long time, only to reappear at sudden and inopportune moments.)
The worst of these tendencies, I think, is the desire to retain them – even while I stand outside myself appalled at the things I’m saying or thinking, part of me is absolutely reveling in the negative feelings I’m experiencing. Part of me doesn’t want to work things out and be calm and mature; part of me wants to fight and rage and shred and tear and seethe until the person I’m angry at is devastated. This part of me sits and broods and thinks of the most malicious things I could say to inflict the most damage possible. So although I wrote a few minutes ago that I don’t want to be who I become, a more accurate assessment is that I do want to be exactly that person, at least until I’ve won. Not admirable, this quality.
So of course there’s a reason these things have been on my mind today; I would say I’m trying not to be angry, but really I’m trying to want not to be angry. I really don’t want God to take the anger away until after I’ve had a chance to unload. And although the voice of reason and rationality and harmony preservation has been hinting on occasion that I should be enough of an adult to just let the subject go, that cellar-rat part of me jumps in with a furious “But why should I have to be the mature one here? Why doesn’t this other person have to be a mature adult? Why do I have to control my temper?” Sure, an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind – but why do I have to be the one who relents?
Grrr, and sigh. We’ll have to see how the next few days go; perhaps some kind of compromise can be reached. But as both concerned parties are stubborn as all get out, things may look more promising for Israel and Palestine.