The Antidote to Anger

Day 54 of coronavirus in France

Day 3 of enforced confinement

Embracing confinement is going to lead to creativity and innovation.

But it also compounds disappointment leading to increasing grief response. Tensions are high. It’s hard to have someone dictating what you must do when you’re sad and frustrated for all the things you were supposed to be doing right now. Anger is bubbling to the surface in hearts around me. It’s a rollercoaster one minute you are enjoying the additional family time together and the next you are wringing each other’s throats.

I see posts that give the impression that your entire day is supposed to be reconnect with yourself, your future, your loved ones, live a slow life, live in the present, but none of that has become a reality. Mostly I’m serving others and trying not to ruin school for my daughter.

At first people tell themselves that if they just stay inside or in their own yard, they’ll be fine, but no one likes their freedom restricted whether it is voluntarily, by government order, or your loved ones trying to keep you safe. Slowly a fire boils inside screaming, “stop telling me what to do.” And honestly there’s a lot to be righteously angry about: there’s a lot of injustice in the world right now. So remember that everyone around you, everyone who crosses your path or video call screen, is balancing on the edge of overloaded anger. The foundation of the emotion is justified, what do you do with it when it comes?

It’s dizzying how fast the restrictions change. Making decisions based on new scientific releases everyday wears on your nerves. Keeping up with new restrictions trickled down everyday is exhausting. Today no more cycling, and all walks with kids or jogging has to be within 500 meters from their home. —UPDATE— this has changed twice today, now it’s limited to just your block. Gone are the days of running in the woods. The forests have been closed. Now there is a 135€ fine if you’re caught in the woods. Too many clandestine gatherings I presume. It’s an empty zombie-ville again. What do you do with all of the built-up pressure from this boiling kettle? It has to go somewhere.

Default setting is to focus on and fight against the things you cannot do. That’s when people seek to fill their days with three grocery trips and a jog around town. But this only feeds the angst and fills your heart with obscurity.

Choosing to fill your heart with peace looks different. Focuses on what you CAN do that brings life. Meditate on Bible truth. Reconnect with your creator. Rediscover what reconciliation with God feels like. If that sounds unattainable, let’s break it down into step.

It is harder to keep the bubbling angst in check because there’s more fuel to the fire than ever before in your life. Whatever your coping mechanisms you’ll need them in greater quantity. So be honest with God. Pump your fist and list all of the things that are injustice in your world. Repent of the things that are really kind of selfish #1stworldproblems. The antidote to anger is action. Right the wrongs. The antidote to fear is information. Read science not opinion, verify reliable sources. The antidote for anxiety is gratitude. Be thankful for at least three things every day. I write. It’s therapeutic. What do you do?

Everyone is going to find their own balance based on their priorities. For me helping means video calls checking in on people, coaching over the phone, and one moment each day to connect with my family.

Choosing the loving reaction and staying connected to the vine is hard work. It’s easy to give in, choose the narrow road that leads to life, the broad road leads to destruction.

My hubby moved his workout equipment from the garage to the backyard. The next ten days are supposed to be beautiful.

We weren’t the only neighbors who were motivated to wash our windows so that we could see more clearly the park in front of our house.

Meanwhile schoolwork is a point of tension. My daughter is still behind in her homework. I’m grateful for the homeschool moms who have shared generously their wisdom such as: desks are unnecessary; read upside down on the couch. But we’re finding that keeping up with actual assignments is not that simple when you’re in the middle of trauma response and emotions are flying.

Doing school at home has been really hard for us for many reasons. It’s something that I never expected to be hard because Cami loves school. I was thinking this through today and here’s what I’ve come up with. 1.) We are doing someone else’s imposed lesson plans, not integrated into our lives or following her passions. 2.) It’s all of the work that they would have done in a full day at school. It’s a TON of work. 3.) At home we aren’t giving it six hours of attention. Our family maintains a full work schedule online, as you can imagine we have more coaching sessions than usual. 4.) It’s a lot of dictating what to do to a kid who is also grieving plenty of disappointments at the same time.

So, yeah, I guess a full day of rigorous assignments is feeling a bit unrealistic at this point. Today we called her best friend and did two hours of homework together over the phone. They were together apart, she was engaged, and it was beautiful. That was the best progress we’ve made so far. All in all we worked on school assignments for four hours today and we’re not done. It’s a little crazy. Perhaps with time and practice she will be able to be more intrinsically motivated. Is that a realistic expectation? She’s six. Right now, it feels like pulling teeth and that’s not the relationship I want with my daughter. She’s got plenty to entertain her around the house that she would rather do than school.

And I would rather practice math playing a card game.

I canceled several meetings to spend fours hours with Cami. We tried to come up with a system that would work to incorporate public school into this life but I don’t think all the rigorous assignments are going to be the way she learns during this time. And certainly not how I want to spend my quality time with her. The teacher is going to be frustrated.

I would like to bestow on you a blessing for today.

I have calm assurance in knowing this; how this unfolds is not my burden. Thank Heavens.

I will do my part.

I will act wisely and love my neighbor at every possible opportunity.

I will be a bearer of light in my household not darkness.

I will see my time at home as a blessing not a curse.

I will focus on things that bring life, those things that make staying home enjoyable.

I will make time for something at home that I always wished I had time for.

I will find my solace and my strength in the never-changing Word of God and God of his Word.

I will remember my life, health, finances and future are no more in jeopardy than before; control is an illusion; my future is sustained by the same steady hand.

I will not stoke the fire of anger. And when all my idols have been torn down, I will worship.

I will not live in fear. He says I don’t have to. Even if the unimaginable comes, I stand only to gain the indescribable joy of being with Jesus, my living hope and lover of my soul.

I will give thanks.

He is enough.

All is grace.

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