My overriding image of 2012 has been the year of rage, a time when rage has become a way of life.
Rage on a big scale that affects masses of people. Rage on a small scale that affects individuals.
On a small scale, just days ago I witnessed first-hand a silly, yet frightening example of a man whose rage was pointed toward me. I was pulling out of a spot in a parking lot, in the dark, in pouring rain. A man walked in front of my car and started gesturing. I wasn’t sure what he wanted, so I stopped. His gesturing became more animated. Then he began spewing obscenities and started kicking the bumper of my car. He wanted me to pull out faster. He was an enraged adult who looked like a bully of a little boy.
Earlier this year I sat through the trial for the murderer of my little brother Mark. My brother, who was unarmed and trimming the shrubs in his yard on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, was shot in the back at point-blank range by his enraged next-door neighbor. My brother’s dog had walked into the neighbor’s yard. And when he had the opportunity to address the court, the murderer just spewed more rage about the county’s Sheriff’s Department and not an ounce of remorse for taking my brother’s life. The murderer was found guilty of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
And then I raged at God. I was enraged with him for letting my nephew Jasen—the son of my murdered brother Mark—get badly injured in a horrible car wreck. Jasen broke bones, spent weeks in a coma, and is struggling to recover from traumatic brain damage. When he regained consciousness, he kept asking for his father. The memory of his father’s murder had disappeared. I didn’t like feeling that kind of rage but I didn’t know what else to rage against but a God who seemed unjust and unfeeling.
And we re-elected a president. The focus of the election got ugly, directed by a bunch of silly bullies who were raging against the other side, trying to impose their wills and their points of view on the American people. That rage has carried over and created a situation where those with political power in our country can’t get past their rage, their self-righteousness, their indignation to do what’s right for the country. I see them just like I saw the raging man in the parking lot kicking at my car, like silly little bullies trying to get their way. It is an undignified way to govern a nation.
Then Newtown. There’s nothing to say other than the word Newtown. I can image that for many years to come that single word will resound as a symbol for how the rage of one young man resulted in a horrific tragedy, unfathomable pain for families and for the nation as a whole.
December 31st—New Year’s Eve—has been a landmark day in my life. For many years it was a day to celebrate. It was the day my former husband and I met on a blind date. After 30-plus years of celebrating it with him, as a kind of anniversary for us, our marriage ended. It ended in part because of his rage. I’ve never known a man so full of anger, so torn up, psychically entangled in barbed wire. He has since died and, when I think of him, I think of love entangled in rage.
I would like to believe that 2013 could be a better year, that we could somehow find a way to get past the rage and live in peace. It’s probably beyond our flawed human nature. But I can only hope. And pray.
Happy New Year! My God be with all of us and bring us peace.