Going on vacation tomorrow — or rather, a bookended weekend. My wife’s aunt died last night. They were extremely close. I have to say that I’ve rarely experienced the kind of warmheartedness I felt from she and her husband. Now, I’m not much of a “family guy,” beyond my spouse and my pets. But my interactions with these wonderful people made me better understand the true value of kinship.
So I’m angry.
Angry at the fact that my wife is mourning, and that I don’t have a perfect place for her to put her grief. Angry that we’re trying to take a much-needed break from our stressful DC lifestyles but won’t be able to completely let go. Angry at how difficult it is to make the time to take better care of my aging self. Angry at the fact that we need to do a complete rebuild of the master bathroom in our condo.
Also, I’m angry at someone who until recently, I considered a friend. Despite our political differences, I felt that there was something worthwhile in our exchanges. Yet he lacks the fundamental backbone to see his convictions through, and retreats like a wounded puppy when the ideology he so steadfastly clings to is challenged. I used to be sad about that — he’s destined for a lonely and frustrated life (which is already plainly evident even in his thirties). Now, I’m just pissed. Pissed that I lack the skillful means to help him understand how bankrupt (and scandalously negligent) his philosophies are. And pissed that I can’t retain a sparring partner who’s capable of going more than a round or two with the champ!
Buddha said that “holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else — you are the one who gets burned.” I get that, honestly I do. But I see myself as more samurai than philosopher. Like Yukio Mishima, I believe that one must train, focus and cut clean with pure intent in order to transcend the baseness of our everyday experience. A man (or woman) who lacks the ability to harness (and even weaponize, where appropriate) their Will is not to be respected. One can do battle and not be emotional, yet fighting to win doesn’t necessitate faux-civility. Such is life, which can be brutal.
And that’s another reason why I’m so angry at this individual! He pretends to uphold a code of martial self-discipline and high-mindedness, but it’s really just a pathetic sham to hide his oversized insecurities. Finally, I’m irritated that I spent so much time entertaining the notions of a man of such feeble psychological/spiritual fortitude.
At thirty-five years of age, I know I don’t know everything. Not even close. But I know enough to stand up for what’s right without regret or remorse. So I’m gonna go on vacation, mourn the loss of a lovely person, and leave my anger where it belongs: smoldering at the feet of an individual who, at the end of the day, isn’t worth an ounce of my intellect or emotion.
When we get back, I’m gonna hit the cushion and breathe in and out, over and over and over.