Inspired
by the
Baha’i Faith
The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith. The official website of the Baha'i Faith is: Bahai.org. The official website of the Baha'is of the United States can be found here: Bahai.us.
GOT IT
The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.
How do I become Baha’i?
Culture

Anger and a Prayer, One Day at a Time

Angela Shortt | Dec 16, 2014

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

Interested in Other Topics?

We’ve got something for everyone.
Angela Shortt | Dec 16, 2014

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

My name is Angela Shortt, and I’m a writer. I’m also mother to three of the most wonderful people in the world (my biased opinion), and grandmother to an amazing grandson. Apparently, my only other duty in life is to be in recovery from my various distractions during this ongoing spiritual journey as a Baha’i and a “friend of Bill”. It’s not easy, but it’s getting better, one day at a time.

“You can only take care of yourself. There’s nothing you can do about anything else that’s going on right now.” I hear that a LOT from my fellow 12 steppers.

Tamir-Rice

Tamir Rice

I hear it so much that I quit confiding to them about what truly disturbs me these days. Amadou Diallo. Trayvon Martin. Oscar Grant. Alan Bluford, Ezell Ford. Kimani Gray, Michael Brown. Eric Garner. And 12 year old Tamir Rice, by himself, playing with a toy gun in a Cleveland park. Only five years older than my grandson, to me, he was still a baby.

But this list doesn’t even come close to the number of unarmed Black men who have been killed by police since 2007.

And people forget that an unacceptable number of Black women have been shot by the police, too. Oh, you didn’t know? Seven year old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot by Detroit policeman Joseph Weekley as she lay sleeping on the living room couch under a blanket. And there have been many, many more. Adaisha Miller. Alesia Thomas, Darnesha Harris. Eleanor Bumpers. Erica Collins. Heather Parker. Kendra James. Their names aren’t as familiar as the others to the public, but that doesn’t make a difference to me. They are no less dead, and that is no less tragic.

I admit that I have a temper. I keep it check so much that people have paradoxically described me as “easygoing”, “placid”, even “comforting to be around.” If only they knew the tsunami that broils inside of me at times like these.

My own grown children–ages 33, 32 and 28–no longer live with me, and they haven’t for years. I’m still their mother, though, and I feel frightened for them each and every day. Not only that, I fear for my grandson. What kind of hateful world will we leave for him, to try to make his way through without the threat of being….I can’t write that. Even the thought of losing my children and grandson is indescribably terrifying. Those people I named before? They were real, as were the police who killed them.

That’s where my temper comes into play. When I share my fears with my 12-step friends (I’ve been in various programs since 1987), they respond in predictable ways. I find it as infuriating as being stuck on Interstate 80 between Oakland and Berkeley during the afternoon rush hour, when an extremely old lady wedges her car across two lanes in front of you, and she doesn’t seem to know how to straighten out her 1972 green Volvo station wagon to move with the traffic.

My 12-step friends mean well when they say, “It’s not happening right now. All you can do is take care of yourself today.” “There’s nothing you can do about that. Just focus on working on your program today.” Oh yes, the power of NOW. I can do that. It doesn’t erase the fear, but I can perfunctorily get through each day NOW. I’m pretty sure that the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and Michael Brown didn’t wake up in the morning of those terrible days thinking, Oh yes, today’s the day my son will be killed by the police, so I better find out who is going to do that so I can stop him! Not that they wouldn’t do that if they had a very clear warning about what was going to happen. But no, that’s not how life works, right? When I think about it, they probably were doing the “just for today” thing because that’s how many Black people get through life. Whew! Made it through my eight hours. Gotta pay the rent today. Do I have enough money for groceries after I pay the light bill?

Yeah, that’s the for-real “ODAT”—which stands for One Day At a Time, which should be ODAAT, but oh well. I feel like screaming, “What do YOU KNOW ABOUT IT? You don’t know! Stop givin’ me that pablum!”

That’s what I feel like doing, but what I really do is get off the phone with lightning speed, or walk away before the fingers on my right hand begin to automatically curl into a fist. I’m sorry, I did mention that I have a solar flare temper, didn’t I? And with anger issues like mine, the last thing I need to do is give some itchy-trigger-finger cop a reason to take me out, too. There’s no doubt in my mind that one of them would, if I ever unleashed my anger, frustration, fear and resentment at the wrong moment. Besides, my friends have done absolutely nothing to deserve that. Other than annoying me with those redundant slogans, they have been supportive, kind and loving. And I’m ashamed of myself for harboring these thoughts.

So what can I do? First of all I pray, upon waking up, and throughout the day. My favorite to recite whenever I feel the anger bubbling up and threatening to ruin my mood and day is this Baha’i prayer:

Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding! – The Bab, Baha’i Prayers, p. 27.

I say that prayer often. I also pray for my family and friends, and for those who have lost their loved ones.

You May Also Like

UN World Health Day – Small Bite, Big Threat
Culture

UN World Health Day – Small Bite, Big Threat

Making America Grate Again
Culture

Making America Grate Again

Violence: A Distortion of the Human Spirit
Culture

Violence: A Distortion of the Human Spirit


Comments

characters remaining
  • Leesie Mappes
    Oct 2, 2017
    -
    Thank you so much for posting this. I have been waking up angry each morning for the past week or so, due to an unresolved and unjust conflict. I have never been this way before! It feels like a stab wound in my gut, and my lower nature wants to fight back myself ...so, this is just what I needed to hear. We need each other to remind each other to reach out, especially to Him. And I like the reminders of those in program. I need the slogans!!
  • Oct 2, 2017
    -
    I'm so sorry for your pain, anger and fear. The injustice that continues to favor white America is something we all must work to change. Your prayer also brings me comfort as I too fear for my son. He is called vile names, has been spit on and assaulted, and daily I pray for his safety. We mothers have a lot in common. We love our children and want the best for them and their families. We want a world at peace with love for our neighbors. My son is a police officer.
  • Rachel Dell
    Aug 28, 2016
    -
    But in all honesty this is just the legal way for white police of today. It started with whipping and lynching, then putting blacks guilty or not in jail for extremely long sentences for misterminors, and they've been shooting blacks its just now being video taped. And brought to light. But as you see they only get a slap on the wrist
  • Rachel Dell
    Aug 28, 2016
    -
    Very well stated
  • Jan 19, 2015
    -
    John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.] John 11:5 ...Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. [ JOHN 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.[ Romans 8:35-37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [ 1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.[ Isaiah 12:3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.[ Psalms 16:9-11 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
    Read more...
  • Jan 19, 2015
    -
    I prophesy upon your life: The year 2015 will be a year of turn around for u. God going to make u greater than your past years, you will move from zero to hero, from grass to grace, from stop to top, from boys-quarter to headquarter, God will make you the head and not the tail. You will move from shame to fame by HIS grace. Thank you God bless you all your days and You can call me in Viber Prophet Joseph k serebour ±63 9174171383 www.Viber.com
  • Dec 18, 2014
    -
    Thank you for sharing Angela. I too have to maintain my composure through employing the words of the Faith. Sometimes, it's my only saving grace.
  • Dec 17, 2014
    -
    Dearest Angela, you certainly have all the right in the universe to be angry about this. It seems so blasé to give all the usual answers to this extreme injustice. I will join you in this prayer. I have seen so much injustice and the only thing that seems to work for me is the concept, 'no one promised you it would be a just world (or rose garden). The older I get the more I feel okay about it all.
  • Dec 17, 2014
    -
    I am a 12-stepper also and have had my serenity threatened by my humanity because of the dark place our world is in now. Program does feel like "pablum" at times when the level of fear and disgust are so very high. God bless you for telling us your truth because that is the basis of our program. We must not use the slogans as a way for denial to creep in. Our feelings are what they are. Thank you for helping me to feel less lonely.
x
x
Connect with Baha’is in your area
Welcome!
What's your name?
Thanks my friend ! We want to connect you with a Baha’i in your area, where would that be?
Thank you so much! How can they best reach you?
To put you in touch with a Baha’i in your area who can answer your questions, we would like to kindly ask for a few details about yourself.