I’m reading a book called The Myth of Normal. (Great title…and such a relief for those of us who often have to swim upstream.) Anyway, the book’s about the body/mind connection. The bad news is that if we’ve been traumatized or even stressed out, we carry it in our bodies. It affects our health. The good news is that we can do something about it.
We can get mentally healthy.
The book cites nurses who can predict diseases based on patients’ “extreme suppression of anger” or over-the-top “niceness.”
Interesting. What we think of as admirable could kill us. Where did we get the idea that anger suppression and niceness at-any-cost were goals? Not from the Bible. It says, “In your anger do not sin.” (Eph. 4:26) And Jesus was hardly what we would call nice when he ran the moneychangers out of the temple, overturning tables for good measure.
A long time ago I watched a dumb Dick Van Dyke movie about a whole town full of people who decided to quit smoking at the same time. Lots of dogs got kicked and deliberate car smashing ensued. It was sort of hilarious…and a little telling. Maybe the problem with our country is that we’re all acting out. Maybe we’re failing to address what’s really up.
And what IS really up?
I think it’s anger. Everybody’s mad about something. It may or may not be the thing that gets kicked.
One thing I like about Jesus is his laser-beam honesty. When he went after the moneychangers, it was about the moneychangers. He didn’t get snarky with his disciples instead. I think we would do well to get better at identifying our sources of anger. You know, identifying what’s REALLY going on. Then figuring out how to be angry without the sin.
And who knows? We might become physically healthier too.