Angry Lent

Photo by Samovaari, via Flickr

I’ve been angry a lot lately.

The thing about practicing NFP is that you get a really deep understanding of yourself–what we talk about as “self-knowledge.” Through years of charting, I’ve discovered that most of the things that seem arbitrary–“sometimes I’m this way, sometimes I’m that way”–are directly tied to cyclic hormonal shifts. I’m very lovey toward my family in Phase II, but my body also holds onto weight, no matter how draconian the calorie slash. I lose weight in Phase III (post-ovulation infertility), but I also have trouble sleeping.

And I get angry easily.

You know that truism,”Pick your battles”? In Phase III, they ALL seem worth picking. Paperwork. The late paycheck. Sports team scheduling. Facebook condescension. Political candidates. Political issues. School rules. You name it, I’ve been mad about it lately.

The one thing I’ve managed not to take so personally is conflict with my husband and my children. How about a very un-Lenten Hallelujah for that?

Having this convergence of “angry” and “Lent”makes me feel like I’m doing Lent all wrong. I made a decision this year not to add a bunch of stuff in, but to really focus in on that whole “mercy” concept a little more deeply. And “angry” and “mercy” are completely at odds with each other. Even as I was blowing up at the school district last week, the “Lent” part of my brain was waving its hands frantically, shouting, No! This is not mercy! Stop! Stop! But the “angry” side was deep in the clutches of progesterone.

No. Let’s be honest. I made a decision to indulge it. I had a choice, and I chose poorly.

But I suppose there is a hidden good in facing a bad case of the “angries” during the heart of Lent. It’s a powerful reminder of the humanness–the beautiful, fragile, broken humanness–that makes this such a crucial season to return to, late winter after late winter.