Men have three well-identified emotions: mad, sad and glad. Yes, this is an oversimplification, but stick with me here. This does not ignore love or numerous other emotional attributes. If you think about it, it is pretty descriptive of men’s emotional landscape. It is kind of like ice cream for dessert, it is all about the amount and not necessarily the presentation or variety.
This past weekend I attended the funeral for my niece. It was very emotional, but a good service. The graveside was the hardest and many wept openly. I did not. I was very sad. I was hurt, but surprisingly most of all I was angry. Angry that my family had to go through all of this. I was angry that some folks felt that once the funeral was done I should be ok. I was angry that my niece was doing great things for the people of the church, but not anymore.
I have been thinking about this a great deal. Anger is a part of grief and men are more familiar with expressing anger than sadness, even though the sadness is really big. I should have warned folks at church, both before and after I returned from the service, that I have a wound and it has not healed. I am edgy, exhausted emotionally. Honestly, I might show my anger at folks- if pushed.
I know this sounds petty. It might not make sense. But I am frustrated. I am frustrated with myself, in not coming to grips with the huge sadness in my heart for my brother and his family. Frustrated with folks who do not cherish life as they should. I am frustrated with people who do not treat others, and that includes me with kindness or thoughtfulness, not because I am sad, but because life is way too short to be mean or hurt others.
Most of the time I can handle the things that are put in front of me. I suck it up. I put my big boy pants on and move forward. Right now, well right now, I am really sad. The shortest verse in the New Testament I: “Jesus wept!” He wept because he saw the pain in Mary and Martha over the loss of their brother. He was sad because he cared and because he is human. Just a note: it was only a couple of days later that an angry Jesus overturned the moneychanger’s tables in the temple. Jesus was angry too. He is human.
Don’t worry. I am not going to throw furniture around in the church. I know it is OK to be sad and weep. I will get there. I am sad and angry. I am still working on it. Ultimately, I am reminded that I am glad to say I am human.