Songs of Nature

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Day 7

Written By Eyleen Farmer

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson, Hawkeye Nature Photography


O, that God would demolish you utterly! —Psalm 52:5

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson; copyright 2010In one of the most memorable scenes in the 1989 film Steel Magnolias,  M’Lynn, the character played Sally Field, comes completely unglued following her daughter’s funeral. She is surrounded by friends who are doing their best to comfort and support her, but M’Lynn will have none of it. In an anguished outburst, she turns on them begins shouting, “O God! I am so mad I don’t know what to do! I wanna know why! I wanna know why Shelby’s life is over...Why? O Lord, I wish I could understand!”  

Sobbing by this time, M’Lynn continues, “No! No! No! It’s not supposed to happen this way! I’m supposed to go first. I’ve always been ready to go first! I don’t think I can take this! I don’t think I can take this! I just wanna hit somebody ‘til they feel as bad as I do! I just wanna hit something! I wanna hit it hard!”

For many of us, especially women, anger is the last place we want to go. We may have grown up in a household where anger was not allowed. It may frighten us and make us feel out of control. We may think it unseemly or evidence that we aren’t handling things very well.

But anger is a normal, even healthy response to loss. Anger is a signal that something is wrong. And when you are suffering the loss of someone or something important to you, something is indeed very, very wrong in your world.

Of course there are skillful and unskillful ways to manage our anger. Some skillful ways would be to write it, draw it, dance it, shout it, walk it, throw rocks—as far and as hard as you can—into a lake. Break dishes if you must. (Not your grandmother’s Haviland.) The psalmist was something of an expert in handling his anger: there are nearly two dozen “imprecatory” or anger psalms in the Bible. They are anguished outbursts, furious attempts to set right again a world gone dreadfully awry.

Like every other part of your grief journey, anger will in due course abate. But first it needs time and space to have its say. Grant your anger that time and space.   

O God, I am so angry! Have mercy on my jagged heart! Amen.