I Wish I Could Just Be Sad
Updated: Nov 24, 2018
Losing my son is so hard in so many ways. Tragedy brings along a handful of emotions when it comes to town. Sometimes I think it would be easier if I could just be sad. But sadly, this is not the case.
This was my son. Half of me. Heart of my own heart. I deserve him. I am a good mom. Better than most. When other moms sit on the park benches on their phones, I am playing with my child. This should never have happened to me. And out of this mentality, anger in my heart was born.
I am not a volatile lady. Of course, from time to time, I do find myself angry with an occasional situation, but overall, I rarely get mad. Since my son Jasper died, I have never been more angry in my life. Around my friends and family I leave the monster caged, but on my own time, it can't help but break free. Anger manifests and expresses itself in many different ways. For me, it means pounding my fists against my steering wheel, crying so hard, blood vessels break in my face, and yelling in the shower in the fetal position. It means fighting back the urge to throw things, burying my face in my pillow to scream, and grinding my teeth when thinking of my beautiful son and the life lost. Anger is the difficult swallow and biting of my tongue when healthy pregnant women complain. Understand, it is not because of them, it is my own jealousy of them. And anger is my poor attitude towards my family when I have a bad day. See, I wish I could just be sad.
In the first month after my son's passing, I said to God, "I cannot forgive you for this." And I meant it. I told God to stay away because I was angry with him.
I soon found myself standing at an impasse between feeling like God owed me an apology and knowing that this theological understanding was completely incorrect. God was never going to come apologize to me. But that didn't change how I felt.
Anger is an emotion that confuses me. It seems so forbidden and bad. In the Bible, we see God exercising anger many times. As Christians we are taught that God’s anger is righteous. So we rationalize it in our own lives: if we are angry but do not sin, then anger is okay. I have realized, in the midst of my circumstance, this ideology is manufactured justification. We are just trying to make it okay to be angry because we feel like we have some right to it.
I have a dear friend who is very careful about using what she believes are “God words”, things that belong specifically to God. I think Anger is one these. Anger belongs to God because he is the only one who can execute it righteously. The only human capable of such a task was Jesus. Think about it, have you actually never sinned when you were angry? I can’t say that I have. Either I bad mouthed someone, a cuss word slipped out, I lied to make my point, or I took my emotion out on someone I love… you fill in the blank.
As a child, I was taught to apologize when acting out of anger. And I think my parents had the right idea. So where in my journey to adulthood did I begin to think that my anger was justified as long a I thought I didn’t sin, or lied to myself that I didn’t?
Human anger has been corrupted by vanity. When I think this way, I am instantly humbled and remorseful. How vain am I to demand an apology from the creator of the universe and withhold my praise until I receive it?
As my husband and I walk this journey of loss, we continue to research. My husband came across a YouTube video of some theologians sitting around talking about the mysteries of God. One lady posed the argument she was angry with God for the death of her adult son. One of the theologians replied, “Repent.”
I knew, instantly, this was the truth. Not only had my parents taught me the correct way to deal with anger when I was younger, but I realized I cannot be angry and not sin.
It took everything within me to bow my head and apologize to my savior. Believe me, I didn’t want to. I liked being angry with God because, in some sick way, it made me feel like I was getting justice for my dead son on his behalf. Usually you ask for forgiveness out of a spirit of repentance, but this was different. I was bowing out of obedience. Anger belongs to the Lord, and I had crossed the line. God deserves my obedience, period. Not just sometimes and not just in the good times when it’s easy. All the time, even in this time of sorrow. Anger separates me from God because I am trying to claim something that doesn’t belong to me. And when I do take it for my own, I misuse it. God is the only being capable of exercising anger because he will never misuse it.
With all this being said, anger is also just an emotion. Although most people would argue it is one of the most powerful of emotions, I do not agree. Anger has powerful consequences, but anger itself is not powerful. This leads me to believe I can live a life free of anger because I can choose not to be mad in any circumstance, and doing so will keep me from being separated from my God.
I’m not expecting this to be easy. Some mornings I still wake up and I want to let God have it and rip him a new one! But more than I want to be angry with Him, I want to be close to Him. I have already said I believe God thinks the death of my son is unfair, so I will relinquish my alleged right to be mad and let God be angry on my behalf. And when I do mess up, and anger gets the best of me, because I know it will, I won't hesitate to say "I'm sorry" to my King.