I have witnessed the birth of bitterness. Its death is something very different.
I had intended to “scarlett” bitterness, to free myself and our readers from bitter words, bitter meaning, bitter actions, bitter feast, bitter end, and bitterness felt toward others. Maybe it is too herculean a task, even for the most forgiving of us. Mister Rogers we are not! And though bitterness is impossible to hide and drenches us all in an insidious poison, it is difficult to give up or even to protect one’s self from.
In the wake of this disappointing discovery and truth, I endeavor to understand bitterness as a step toward freedom. I have chosen three quotes that speak to me and hopefully to you as well, dear reader.
“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”
– Maya Angelou.
“But you can’t start. Only a baby can start. You and me–why, we’re all that’s been. The anger of a moment, the thousand pictures, that’s us. This land, this red land, is us; and the flood years and the dust years and the draught years are us. We can’t start again. The bitterness we sold to the junk man – he got it all right, but we have it still. And when the owner men told us to go, that’s us; and when the tractor hit the house, that’s us until we’re dead. To California or any place – every one a drum major leading a parade of hurts, marching with our bitterness. And some day – the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they’ll all walk together, and there’ll be a dead terror from it.”
– John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath.
“Part of the problem with the word “disabilities” is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.”
– Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember.
Words to ponder. Please share your thoughts with us. It may take a world-village of open hearts, minds and yes, ears, to begin to let go of bitterness.