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Family Fire

September 19, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve always heard ABOUT the fights that go on when a loved one dies and the estate is divvied up, but I’ve never actually been close enough to witness one firsthand. Until now…

Hatred and anger are so much more powerful than I’ve ever understood. My own anger tends to burn bright but is short-lived; I’ve singed a lot of eyebrows in my day but they’ve always grown back.

I am now witnessing the legacy of a pervasive anger that is bridging generations, the kind that leaves burn scars, if not on the outside for everyone to see, then deep inside where the tissue continues to smolder.

This is the foundation of hatred.

What is most insidious about real hatred, the kind brought on by generations of prejudice and resentment, is that it is often invisible. The glad-handing that goes on on the outside masks the red-hot coals underneath until a strong wind comes along and the flames shoot up again, scorching even the bearer, who often doesn’t even know they were there.

My question is this: Is it really possible to totally dowse the fires of deep-seated anger?

We have come up with all sorts of ways to get past old wounds. We go to therapy, we get massages, we go to church or a 12-step group. We THINK we’ve moved on, but have we really? How many of us can go back into those same situations that used to inflame us and hold our spiritual centers? To that I say, it depends on the day…. Sometimes I can be a cool cucumber, but other times, it seems that the bellows of life just won’t let up. I’d like to think that it’s possible to defeat those bellows, burn them to ash, but I’m not at all sure that it is, especially with the situation I am witnessing now.

Imagine, if you will, a brother and sister, 5 years apart in age, both gentle, easygoing people, generous and loving to those they care about, born to a mother filled with intense bitterness. The two siblings have spent their lives attempting to avoid what they try not to accept as their birthright, and both have successfully reached middle age without a lot of baggage so far…

Now I know that none of us escapes the gravitational pull of a mother’s core. Her death has unleashed a monster fireball onto her children and the landscape around them is being progressively blackened. It seems like the firestorm could scorch the whole earth if it’s not contained soon. Where is the volunteer fire department of the soul when you need it??

But who ARE the firefighters in this situation? Are they those of us closest to the fire, already compromised by smoke inhalation, or are they people further removed? Or… can the fire only be put out by angels crying tears of anquish….

Fire can destroy, but it can also create a perfect atmosphere for new growth if conditions are right. Our souls can be renewed, even as we continue to see the scars for what they are and remember the pain of them in their initial stages. Our beings will never be the same, but we can choose to help those around us to avoid a similar fate by learning how to monitor a healthy controlled burn.

These days, I think there are a lot of weeping angels around us, trying their best to quell the rage that seems to be everywhere. And if heaven is anything like earth, there have probably been massive layoffs, and the wiser, more experienced angels have been let go, leaving the really tough assignments to temps. They need as much help as we can give them.

So when you feel the flames of resentment beginning to flare up, grab a bag of marshmallows and invite the person you’re angry at to pull up a seat. There’s nothing more healing than a campfire and good conversation. Who knows? Maybe those billows of smoke you think you’re seeing are really those out-of-work angels, come to enjoy the conversation. Lord knows, they have better things to do, but maybe this is how we help them out, by giving them a little respite from the battle too…

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