Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.
That is a quote by Maya Angelou, a woman well acquainted with bitterness and anger - and with reason. She is, I believe, one of those people who has looked long into the sour of life, living beyond it.
Today, that is how I'd like to be. I am not a bitter person; to be perfectly honest, I do not have anything over which I could be very bitter even if I wanted. However, I think this planet is a bitter place. I'm fairly certain that the human race is tired of watching it destroy its homes, its dependents, students, masters, teachers, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers - itself.
I don't think we are angry enough.
We have been angry, very angry, in the past, but always too briefly and often too violently. Wars are our legacy here. If we were to be annihilated tomorrow, the cosmic history books would paint us as tragic heroes constantly killing our neighbors without realizing who was on the other end of the blade.
Sometimes - on rare and beautiful occasions - we march, make signs, write poems and songs, perform, speak, and peacefully teach. We try vainly to tell ourselves that these actions come from a place of goodwill and self-control. That is not the truth. Resistance, be it peaceful or not, comes from deep, obsessive anger - as well it should.
Anger is dangerous; it is explosive, but - when properly utilized - it is the most powerful weapon that the human being possesses. It is the catalyst for change.
But we are not angry enough.
Enslavement persists; chains obstinately remain to be broken; human beings are subjugated and objectified. We have not, collectively, remedied these injustices or healed the wounds they inflict upon their victims. Rather, we take our anger and foolishly direct it in the wrong directions, bickering among ourselves about how and when and why to fight the fires we so desperately need to douse. I'm as guilty of this as anyone I know: wrong anger.
Today, I saw this quote by Maya Angelou, and I knew it was the truth. Anger is that glorious wave that sweeps the land in the minds and hearts of men and teaches them the proper way to be, taking the bitter helplessness of victimization and transforming it into action if (and only if) the once-victim is committed to laying down their sword and fighting well.
It's been about half a year since a late afternoon, when, while sitting with a notebook on my lap staring at a blank wall, eight words dropped very neatly into my head and would not leave. I wrote them down, but have never seriously written them into something:
BE STILL THE WOLVES AND HOWL NO MORE.
When I read the quote that began this post, that is what I thought of - that line. I'm tired of watching wolves tear my world in two, tired of listening for them at night.
It makes me furious.
And, to be frank, I think that's a good thing.
May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.