This afternoon we got together for our inaugural meeting, we four struggling with anger. I had Kerri Jean's updated version of tips for dealing with anger as a discussion resource.
I knew that what I had to share today was a work in process, and that there is a lot of excellent material out there that is more sophisticated; I just didn't have it at my fingertips. But the most important thing today was not anything written on paper; it was the readiness of our hearts to engage in learning peace; a worthy topic, guaranteed to keep us together with lots to do for a while to come.
We started first with prayer. It seemed like a very good idea to us all to invite God into the group with us. Then we batted around thoughts on what to call ourselves.
"Anger Management Group," proffered one person.
Another started singing, "I've got peace like a river."
"That's a song," said someone else, "We're looking for a name."
"It is a name," insisted her housemate, and he sang a few more lines of, "I've got peace like a river" loudly and with enthusiasm as if to prove a point.
"That's it then," I said, "How about The Anger Management, A.K.A. Peace Like a River Group." Heads nodded in pleased agreement.
For half an hour we covered big territory. I listened as they talked about ears and hearts being shut down in anger. We talked about how to leave a fight without leaving angry--no slamming doors or throwing objects. This kind of leaving would be temporary; to lovingly take care of ourselves as well as let the other person cool down.
I didn't plan on going back to the events of the day of the broken window, but they insisted. There was so much unresolved from that day that it was a perfect situation to debrief and learn from, and we did.
"Look at me," one man said to his housemate, to get his full attention when he knew wasn't listening, and then he patiently explained; twice; the thing that wasn't heard on Friday.
I asked his housemate if he "heard" it today.
"A little bit," he said, arms folded. I knew that meant "a lot."
We laughed and listened and learned, and laughed some more. There was such a sense of hope that maybe if we learned all of this well, we might be able to help others.
We aren't "there" yet; but we are on our way! Thanks for coming with us.