Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesdays with Dorothy: Stilling the Anger

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One of the places where Dorothy found support, community, and a sense of family was at Glen Iris Baptist Church, which is just a couple of blocks from where she lived. She mentioned in an earlier conversation about how she had started going to church there after meeting someone in town who invited her to attend. She also mentioned that when she found her apartment and was able to graduate from the St. Andrew’s Foundation group homes, there were friends at Glen Iris Baptist Church who helped her with the move.  She never told me why, but apparently at one point she stopped attending church there, but returned later (as she mentions in today’s conversation) to find a supportive community.

I asked her about how she had dealt with her anger, since Dorothy had shared incidents in which her outbursts had caused her some problems. It was then that she began to share how she had found a spirituality in which the world and her place in the world made sense. It was obvious that Glen Iris Baptist Church was meeting many needs for her. The church offered family, friendship, and community – but it also provided her with a coherent spiritual understanding that allowed her to carry on in her daily life. Here is how Dorothy described it:

“I don’t get mad like I used to. I guess it got where one day I sat down and I were thinking’, it don’t help nothin’ to get mad, does it?  I was thinking that to myself, and I thought, Why do I always get mad? But when anybody mentions the name of Jesus, it takes all my angriness away. I thought, why is that? Then I thought the name of Jesus must have all power in it. Then I began to think, ‘Jesus is God. Jesus has got to be God.’ And that was just how I was thinking. I told a friend of mine, Jesus is God. I could be angry enough to run through a door, then when I heard somebody mention the name of Jesus, I forgot all about being angry.  I could be angry at times; I didn’t really know what I’d be angry about. I’d hear somebody mention Jesus and I’d stop being angry.”

“I’m learning how not to get mad about everything. I try not to get mad, and I thought about how easy I did fly off. Every morning, I get up to make my coffee. Before I make my coffee, I go into the kitchen or on the bathroom, and I talk to the Lord.  I’ve been a-doin’ it ever since 1994.  I said back then that I’ve been going on this way long enough, I better start getting off on the right foot instead of the wrong one. I’ve been talking to him ever since. It seems like the day goes just perfect. He makes the day like a beautiful flower garden.”

“I’ve heard people say that if you talk to the Lord, then everything will fall into place. There’s a lady at church that always prays for me. She told me that she was praying for me, that I’d get back to the will of God. So I did, I started going back to church, and ever since then everything seems to be really really well.  [That’s when I started going back to Glen Iris Baptist Church.] I even went when I was up at that [rehab] center after my surgery.”

“I’ve had people to say, ‘If everybody were like you, the world would be a better place.’  I started going back to Glen Iris Baptist Church after I had my first heart attack back in 2005 or 2006. I had congestion. A neighbor across the street was a nurse. She thought I was having a heart attack and she took me to the hospital. I had to stay there. Dr. Pappapietro put a stent in my heart.”

Glen Iris Baptist Church

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