The Angry-Tired Stage

My kids reached the angry stage of tired this morning. Facing their fourth day in a row of in-person school after such a long time with online or reduced-in-person since March 2020 they were exhausted. When they were toddlers, they would’ve been throwing wild tantrums. As teenagers, it’s more like sulky stares and irritated groans.   
 
I’m not facing my fourth in-person all-day school day, but I still really get where they are at. I mean, I get what it feels like to be angry-tired after too much all in a row and for too long. Maybe you get it too.
 
A lot is coming at us, and – maybe especially because we had that sense that we were headed for a long reprieve, and instead, it’s the opposite – it’s just exhausting. It’s hard to know what to feel. Except tired, and a little – or a lot – angry.  
 
Between the completely confusing and still-chaotic state of the virus, the climate crisis, the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, the devastation in Haiti, and the continued escalating division within our own country playing out at School Board meetings nationwide – not to mention the need to track back-to-school-nights and athletic schedules, or make decisions about travel (again), or time with grandchildren. It is a truly overwhelming time to be alive.  
 
One of the first things my kids do when they are angry-tired is lash out at someone they love, i.e., one of their moms. Being on the receiving end of this anger makes me defensive and angry back. Anger feeds anger. I lash out back. They get (as my daughter says) “consequenced.” 
 
But really, what I know they need most in these moments is my understanding. They need a glass of water, a deep breath, an encouraging word. They need to go to bed early, maybe after a bath. They need connection and compassion.  
 
So, dear ones, have you had a glass of water lately? Taken a few deep breaths every day? Gone to bed early or taken a nap? How about a bath? It’s ok if you rest, slow down. It’s ok not to try to fix anything right now. It’s ok to just be and breathe.  
 
And, it’s ok if you feel angry. Your anger is likely 100% justified – not just the result of weariness. Anger can be fuel that helps us change.  
 
And, remember that anger is one stage of grief, and sometimes we find anger because it’s easier than dealing with sorrow. And so, alongside your anger, I invite you to just spend some time paying attention to the grief that may also be there. And because grief reminds us what we love, it will also help you connect your anger to love.  
 
I know that a lot of our weariness is connected to sustained uncertainty. We just want answers! Well, if that’s you – this Sunday, you’re in luck! Because we’re offering our annual live Q&A service where you bring the questions, and Rev. Elaine and Rev. Sean, and I will be there to offer our answers on the fly. And, because we know that the questions may be especially tough this year, we brought in back up with six of our Unitarian Universalist colleagues joining us from across the country for rapid-fire Q&A. You can submit your questions starting now – learn how below – and then join us Sunday morning as we try our best to give you some of those answers!
 
Sending you all love, and big, deep restoring breaths, 

Gretchen
 
P.S. Remember, you can always revisit Foothills’ Journey Forward, which includes affirmations for each phase of our path!

Song Poll and Question Box for this Sunday's Service!

This Sunday’s service will be full of spontaneity and opportunities for YOU – yes, you, our beloved community members – to interact directly with the service! To start, let us know what music you’d like to hear this Sunday by taking our short song poll

During the service, all three ministers will also answer questions about relationships, community, Unitarian Universalism, and any questions with which you’re grappling about being human in the world today. Click the button below to submit your question!

Please use your real name when you submit a question, and keep checking back to upvote which questions most resonate with you. CLICK HERE a tutorial on how to submit and upvote questions.

9:00 am on Zoom – link here

Or watch a rebroadcast of the service at 11:00 am on Facebook or our website.