Rational Emotion

Emotion is a dangerous commodity. Rarely does it ever point north or face reality with any sense of truth. If not reigned in carefully can run and ruin all parts of a carefully plotted life.

Anger is one such emotion. It acts with reckless abandon and it drags along its host for a roller coaster ride that leaves the rider sick, twisted and queasy when all is said and done. It acts without thought or care and it reacts before thought can intervene. It is an emotion that gets the best of us every time and shows our true, ugly colors.

Anger’s catalyst comes from all directions – injustice (perceived or real), jealousy, sensitivity, ego, hatred…you name it.

Anger creates a boiling overload, like a volcano spewing its vengeance upon anyone near enough to see it. It does not hold back, it does not discriminate, it just acts. It warps our perception into a fun house mirror image. Without any kind of check will lead its host to a bitterness and hatred that decays until it has destroyed all the peace and kindness in one’s life.

Love, or the desire of love, is another such emotion. One can become so enamoured with the idea of love that who ever steps close enough will become an idle object of one’s affection. Love, I think, is so easily misguided and often unrequited. Oh, to be so lucky as to have known real love. The blissful ignorance of youth so entangled by dreams. What pretty pleasures. And as time goes by it grows into something deeper and beyond that of words. An understanding. A desire. A hope. A cherished moment turned into a lifetime.

Love is something I do not understand. Love is such an overwhelmingly passive aggressive emotion. At least with anger you can feel it burning deep within your gut. You know it is there. You feed it and comfort it and give it safe passage. Love, I think, comes on slowly. Quietly. With stealth. And when we turn around to see whats got us from behind and see nothing, turning back to discover that it is staring us in the face. It swallows us whole, like Jonah and the whale. It has us in its belly and nothing can save us from it.

I understand my anger, though I rarely am able to control the short burst of rage. But once free, it passes and is gone. I wish that I could contain it. Keep that burst from happening, but sometimes, it just simmers below the surface. A little boil there, and another here. Until an all out roll comes. But eventually the heat lessens and everything returns to normal.

Love is not that way. It taunts from afar. There are few things I want more and yet when the possibility of obtaining it becomes a reality, I am suddenly overcome with fear. It is something that has always been fleeting and I am not sure ever really real in my life. When the smallest of a granule of possibility is glimpsed from across the room, I turn it into this grandeur of a thing and then it inevitably becomes sorely disappointing, painful even. It occurs to me that love is one such treasure that is destined to elude me all my life.

Emotion is a great and wonderfully awful part of our being. It allows us the ability to love, forgive, show kindness and compassion. It gives the ability to empathize with others and to care about them. It also breeds selfishness, self-righteousness, pride, jealousy, bitterness and anger. We must be careful to know ourselves, to know what triggers our emotions. We cannot allow our emotion to rule us. We cannot allow emotions to dictate how we lead our life. How we perceive the world and those around us. We cannot allow it to determine the path we take. We must allow those emotions to exist but with control and understanding. Otherwise we are left miserable creatures unable to truly live.


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