As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children Psalm 103:13-17
Is it just me, or does it seem like a lot of people have anger just below the surface these days? You know, there is just a sense that there is a collective irritability that gets played out in social media, and even mainstream media for that matter. Maybe a loss of civility is a better explanation, but I think the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for it.
I call it collective frustration.
I think this is the formula: Helplessness + Anger = Frustration. In so many ways, we have felt helpless in the battle against the Coronavirus. We have not yet developed a vaccine, so there is still need for caution. We desperately want a normal economy and lifestyle, but the virus still stymies those efforts, even as the economy opens back up.
So, we express this sense of helplessness as anger. It is much more acceptable to get angry than to admit to feeling helpless. Anger is sort of a default emotion. It is always there, lurking. Some access this emotion more easily than others. Usually though, there is something below the anger. Something deeper in our soul and mind. Sometimes it is unexpressed sadness. Very often it is fear. However, anger seems to be the workhorse of our emotions that is most easily accessed- our default mode if you will.
Deeper reflection will often give us the opportunity to identify what is really going on, but if we have very few margins- that is, if stress has built up and we feel that we have no good outlets, and no available solutions, we express this initially as anger.
I am frustrated too. I feel helpless in so many ways about the restrictions of my lifestyle brought on by this pandemic. Indeed, I am angry at the Coronavirus, but how can you really play that out?
Then I realize my limitations and the fact that God understands me. I think the verses from my favorite Psalm are appropriate today. This is Father’s Day (Happy Father’s Day, by the way to you dads). I take comfort that my heavenly Father knows how we are made, sees us as little children, and will care for us, even when we may feel that his presence is distant or gone.
Prayer: Thank you Father for your love for us, and your understanding that we are like little children. We take comfort in your care as loving parent, Amen.