Part of aging is the release of anger…easier said than done! Last night I went for a walk with my wife. Because I am having a problem with my knee, I was using a walking stick. We were a block from home walking on a street that does not have sidewalks when a car approached us from behind. We stopped and moved to the side of the street to allow the car to pass. As it did a young male opened his window and called out, “get the hell out of the way old man!” He did not stop.
I felt a rush of blood to my face and words of anger rose to my lips. I wanted to scream out “fuck you asshole!” I did not. I imagined throwing a brick through his back window. I did not have a brick. I thought about chasing the car and beating on the window with walking stick when he stopped at a stop sign down the block. I did not.
My anger raged silently inside of me for a full five minutes. I did not say a word to my wife as we continued our walk. Slowly a calm returned and I reflected on my response. I am too old and to impaired for a street fight. In truth I felt fear mixed with my anger. I remembered a time when I was hitch-hiking as a boy and a man stopped and beat me up.
Finally this mix of negative emotions was replaced by imagining what I might have said if the young man had stopped his car. I might have talked about the bad effects on the soul when anger rules the heart. I might have turned a negative into a positive.
The incident reminded me of the dark corners inside of me…Jung calls it the shadow in us…the places I try to forget or cover up so that I do not have to deal with them.