For example, a friend of mine gave me a gift of an audiobook, and I was notified via text message. Which was a problem, because a) I keep my phone clear of anything that eats up memory because I need it for work and b) I had no idea how to download the book onto my computer instead. I researched and tried different things, while getting more and more pissed off about the situation. Eventually, not completely sure how, I got it onto my computer and into iTunes.
But, man! I was so worked up! I got myself into a real snit. So many unreasonable things running through my mind about how my friend should know better and how technology is stupid and on and on. Probably, underneath it all, I just felt stupid for being behind on technology and not knowing how to do it.
Happily, I refrained from saying something nasty to my friend. Because he's a good guy who just wanted to do something nice and did absolutely nothing wrong. But when I'm in a snit, it doesn't matter. And when I'm in a snit, I want to hurt someone or something. I want to hit my desk so hard it breaks or say something 'innocent' that actually hurts someone. I want someone or something else to feel my pain.
I really don't like this side of myself. And it happens far more often than I would care to admit. But I prayed about it. And I asked God to help me not be so snitty.
Yesterday, I did Christmas dinner and presents and stuff with the fam'. A little history. I used to work with my brother and sister-in-law, and it did not end well. Lies were told, and not by me. I know they're not horrible people, but what they did to me was pretty awful. And since then, I have merely tolerated them. I show up, I give the obligatory hugs, but mostly I avoid eye contact and try not to talk to them.
So, I'm sitting there last night, and the thought pops in my head ... 'What if you let that go?'
Seriously? I mean, it's not like I haven't tried. I've prayed about it and gone through the motions of letting it go over and over. I don't like living with this knot inside of me - I'm not someone who does well carrying baggage around. I've tried. Let it go? Oh, OK!
But as I rooted around inside, expecting to find that knot, expecting to find resistance, I found ... nothing. The anger is gone. Weird.
I still know what they did. I still think they should apologize. But that bitterness? It's missing. What's up with that?
And another thought comes ... 'What if you struck up a conversation?'
Come on. Really?
But I did. The anger isn't there, so I can look him in the face now. And he was standing nearby, so I started a conversation. And we talked for 10 minutes or so about this and that.
I'm not going to say it was nice. But it was OK. And later I was near my sister-in-law and I talked to her for a few seconds. It wasn't much, but I initiated it.
There used to be an inspirational poster titled Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Star Trek, which listed many of the nuggets of wisdom to be found in that universe. It's not on the poster, but one I've always taken to heart is from Captain Kirk. When Sybok offers to take away Kirk's pain, Kirk says:
"Dammit, Bones, you're a doctor! You know that pain and guilt can't be taken away with the wave of a magic wand. They're the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don't want my pain taken away - I need my pain!"
I think that's true, to a point. I don't think we should seek to have our pain removed artificially, whether by drugs or a hypnotic Vulcan. We need it, to keep from making the same mistakes, to show us the stuff we need to work through, to help us to understand others going through something similar, and more.
We need our pain. But maybe we only need it ... until we don't.
I asked God to help me with my snits. And this has been one extremely prolonged snit. Really, more than a snit - a pain and betrayal that I couldn't fully let go of. God had to do it for me, in His time. It's surreal, but I'm grateful for it.
One more thought came into my head, late last night ... 'Holding on to pain does nothing to change the other person.' Kind of obvious, but it's true.