What is in the middle between grief and anger? These are conflicting emotions. A spiritual director once asked me what I felt towards God, who in her words “took” my parents. I’d never thought of it that way. I’d always just thought they made bad choices. They died early because they smoked and ate poorly. I’d never blamed God for it. It wasn’t an accident that they died, after all.
But if I truly believe that God is in charge of everything, then I have to believe that they died when they did because it was the time that God had allotted for them to die. And then the next thought is that all the grief and ugliness of my childhood was meant by God to help me. Eckhart Tolle says that waking up to the truth is easier if you have a hard life. If it is easy, you don’t have to work on it. In the same way, God is said to put trials to us because God wants us to do better.
You push those you want to encourage. It may look like you are being difficult to them, but in reality you are putting a lot of effort into them because you want the best for them. It is kind of a paradox. So is this feeling. I was angry at my parents for making bad choices, and for abandoning me. Then I framed it in terms of God’s will. If this is all something from God, then I’m OK with it.
I’m no longer one who gets mad at God. I’m starting to understand that God’s perspective isn’t my perspective, that the things that look “bad” now are just part of life. The Persian mystic Rumi speaks to this in “The Guest House.” Everything is as it is, not good or bad. Grain has to be ground up and then baked to make bread. Grapes have to be pressed and then fermented for a long time to make wine.
The same is true for us. We are the grain and the grapes. We are raw, unprocessed. We are better when we are molded. Our hard experiences create us into who we are.
Once I remembered that God was in charge, I wasn’t angry or sad anymore. I was a bit of both, and then they cancelled out and I found myself somewhere in between. I think we call that grace.