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The Things You Learn After Fifty


I am learning a new trick in my old age.

I’m learning how to be sad when I am sad and not let that sorrow become anger.

In my family, you weren’t allowed to be angry. Being angry was sin. The one who was able to hold his or her temper had the higher moral ground – and knew it.

I learned how to be soft. And then something would happen that made me hurt, and the emotion I would express was anger.

I’m in my fifties now, and I’ve learned a couple of things.

It is far better to be sad. Sadness can be taken to the cross. It can be immersed in the Precious Blood. It will give you strength and clarity after a little time.

Anger can’t.

Well, only righteous anger can do that, but who of us has pure righteous anger?

So let the hurt be the hurt. Be willing to be sad without being angry.

That is the first thing I have learned.

The second thing I have learned is to speak the truth. Sometimes, I speak it and my language is a little salty. That’s okay. I grew up believing that you couldn’t say gee, geez, gee whiz let alone any of the really raw stuff.

It was all swearing.

Again, there is a need to discern a little here. Swearing a blue streak can do real damage to your witness for Jesus Christ and your soul.

But it is okay to be a little salty. To speak the truth with a rawness and realness that makes the point known.

And then move on.

Burning anger requires the confessional and a spiritual director.

Sorrow usually just needs a bit of the cross of Jesus Christ.

I choose sorrow.

Words that speak what you feel, provided they do not seek to lay curses on another using the name of the Holy One, well… that’s not a sin.

It’s just a word.

A prayer is better.

But as long as another person is not the butt of your salty word, you probably don’t need to see a priest.

Gee, that feels better.

Just as true sorrow is a whole lot easier to lay down that chronic anger.


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