Day 4: Leaving Anger along the Path

By Amanda Cleary Eastep

Day 4 Find Trust; Give up Anger & Hurt [Links below to Days 1-3]

Most of us have experienced hurt in some way in our lives or may be holding on to some anger. How can getting out into nature or going for a long walk help you? 

Last week in our house church, we talked about the commandment THOU SHALL NOT KILL.

Easy-schmeasy. Check. Have not murdered anyone.

Now, if you’ve gone to Sunday school or sat in church enough Sundays, at some point you hear the explanation that if you hate a person in your heart, you’ve committed murder.

Easier to check off the to-done list.

Our pastor delved deeper into the words of Jesus, explaining that we don’t have to experience the emotion of anger to signal that we’ve crossed the line. Even when we let fly an unkind word spoken in a way that devalues another person, that doesn’t treat them as a being loved by God, we have broken the sixth commandment. Jesus says:

 21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ [Aramaic word for contempt] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

My daughter and I were chatting today about how angry our world seems. She feels the brunt of it almost every day at work from flustered clients. (So does anyone who works in retail.)

Several years ago, a study of 70 million posts on China’s version of Twitter mapped the interactions of users and four key emotions expressed. They found that “anger spreads wider than any other emotion.”

I think anyone hanging out on Facebook could have predicted that outcome.

So, what do we do with our anger?

The kind that has wrapped its tendrils around our hearts isn’t going to be cured by a long walk in the woods. But the daily practices of such things–of walking, running, praying, and disconnecting–can help. Much like the way healthful eating habits can help us better resist illness when it strikes.

a-way-to-forgiveness-documentary

A Way to Forgiveness

My friend Erin, who inspired this short series of posts (see below), walked 550 miles along the Camino de Santiago as a way of dealing with the deep hurt and anger of betrayal. Her beautiful independent film, A Way to Forgiveness, records that journey, and what she learned about herself, her world, and God.

Currently, Erin is walking the Wicklow Way in Ireland. As part of a collaborative film project (to which my daughters and I have contributed), each day of the journey will have a theme. All week, I’m “walking alongside” Erin via this blog and sharing my experience of how walking/hiking/wandering on purpose can help and heal us.

Day 1: Finding Healthy Habits

Day 2: Finding Courage, Giving Up Fear

Day 3: Wandering into Surprise

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