She still exists in some small part and perhaps always will. But she’s much quieter now. Thanks be to God, I rarely see her. And when I do, she’s mostly a reminder of the work God has done in me since her pervasive presence first took hold.
Sometimes, I see glimpses of her in the eyes of others, which is why she’s been calling to me lately, and why I wanted to revive her for just awhile. I see her, and my heart lurches, because I know how tenacious she is, and how heavy to bear.
To be fair, Angry Girl had good reason to be angry, having grown up in an environment that perpetuated incredible sadness in her heart. And as much as I wanted to abandon Angry Girl as I leaped into my life of young adulthood, it was futile. Angry Girl had taken up permanent residence in my soul.
Much of her mad existence could be traced to the disease of addiction that had plagued her family for decades; how often she felt oppressed by that scourge and cursed its continued taunting. “Unfair,” she proclaimed, again and again.
Not able to see through it all, she lived with anger in her center, and it roiled and pitched and had its way. In moments, she recognized the much deeper emotions behind it: powerlessness, fear, despair. These all banded together, holding her captive in their mighty grip.
But in time, it all grew heavy on her back. Now a mother, she was seeing how the demon of anger was affecting her children and how they were accepting as their own the wounds she hadn’t found the salve to adequately heal. This troubled her greatly.
So she began to cry out in the dark night: “Lord, if you are there, please show me the way out of all of this.”
It was a daunting procedure — the task of putting Angry Girl in her proper place, in a corner of my soul that would have her remarkably more subdued.
This required Angry Girl digging deeply into the muck of her life, day after daunting day, until at last she uncovered something unexpected and precious: a sliver of shining light, which brought the realization that God had much bigger plans for her, and that the weight she’d been carrying around had never been meant to be hers to assume.
God had allowed it in her life, but only so that someday, she could see more clearly. And indeed, as she took one brave step forward, and then another, to claim the life of fullness and light God had prepared for her, she could see.
Now, having trusted in the healing love of God, she has been made new, and lives as a Daughter of Grace. And while life isn’t perfect and never will be, it is exceedingly better, more joyful, much richer and filled with hope.
Angry Girl has left the building, and Daughter of Grace now stands in her place. Having been relieved of the load she once carried, she walks with a lilt and purpose, wanting to help others see the beautiful thing she has discovered.
Daughter of Grace knows that the world is filled with Angry Girls and Boys, like the person she once was. She sees them everywhere she goes.
But she also sees behind the mask of pain, and desires to, ever so gently, help them remove it in order to be truly free.
She knows that if the Angry Children in her midst could only see themselves as they really are, as God sees them, they will discover in their reflection a brilliant, sparkling jewel, unrepeatable in all of time, worthy of not only happiness but everlasting joy.
The answer to bringing Angry Girl to rest comes in surrendering to the God of life, whose merciful love can melt the most hardened of hearts and bring eternal peace.
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on Oct. 24, 2015.]