I read a blog last night before bed by Adrienne Pieroth. It was sent to me by a treasured friend, and (unofficial) mentor, Victoria Prozan.
The blog is entitled, She was done.
It’s a bit long, but it’s full of so much wisdom. I don’t know Adrienne, but clearly she’s very familiar with all the noise we talk about listening to around here at HeartStories.
Of the entire blog, this one quote hit me like a punch in the gut. Not the kind that makes you double over in pain and fall down. The kind that makes you open your eyes up wide and stand there in silence, without breath. After the initial breathless moment, I copied this section, knowing I needed to share it this morning.
(Then I read another article about how everything I eat is killing me and went on to have a very long, random dream about finding out I had Type 1 diabetes, but clearly that’s beside the point.)
She was done being angry. She realized anger was just a flashlight that showed her what she was most scared of and once it illuminated what she needed to see, she no longer needed to hold on to it. ~ Adrienne Pieroth
I know this about anger.
I know that it illuminates what I’m most afraid of. This metaphor has never before crossed my mind. This anger-light isn’t a big, beautiful light like the one I often encourage you to shine. I imagine my flashlight of anger as an old, 1980’s, yellowed, dingy, flashlight. The kind that lights things up, but not clearly. It shines more of a dingy, dark light that helps you see.
But it’s nowhere you really want to go.
And it’s super clunky. It’s heavy and it requires a lot of maintenance. It’s even the kind with the big square handle, you have to plug into the wall to recharge.
Sometimes it takes both of my hands to hold it.
In my own life, the bigger my flashlight of anger, the longer I try to grasp it and shine it all over the things that make me angry. The more I feel like I have the right to turn it on.
I do have the right, sure.
I can shine it all over the imperfect people in my life. I can make sure they see, hear and know for sure, how angry I am. And unfortunately, I do that a lot. Something about shining that light makes me feel stronger.
Even a dingy old light shining on someone else, feels better than the darkness I’m afraid of.
But what hit me last night was, that my dingy old flashlight has a purpose. It’s purpose isn’t to light my path forever. It’s meant to illuminate just enough to help me face the thing I’m scared of.
And then, it’s up to me to grab the matches lying there in the dim and light my lantern, set it down beside me and face my fear with strength in the light. I’m not meant to hide, afraid, behind the dim yellow light of anger.
I don’t know why I constantly want to clutch the dingy old flashlight, when I have a beautiful lantern with stockpiles of fuel available.
But I often do.
What about you?
Are you clutching the old, yucky flashlight of anger today?
I just thought I’d remind you (and me) that it’s OK to let go. That once you’ve let it show you what you’re most afraid of . . . the hurt, the loneliness, the shame, or uncertainty, it’s time to put it down.
Reach for the matches today instead.
You have a beautiful light to shine.
To more love,