That’s what my mom used to tell me: “Never go to bed angry, because one of you might not wake up the following day.” I don’t know how often she said it or even why she was so moved to say it, but it was one bit of wisdom from her that always stuck in my mind.
Most of my growing up years, and then through my thirties and into my forties, I would think about what she said if I was mad at someone. The thought would come automatically, but I rarely heeded her advice.
Before Death and After Death
Now I divide my life into two phases, like BC and AD, only mine are BD and AD—Before (Sarah’s) Death and After (Sarah’s) Death. And, maybe, BR and AR, Before Reology and After Reology.
BEFORE—I went to bed at times, mad as hell—certain I was right and the other person was wrong. Probably more often, I was really mad at myself for handling myself poorly—for not being the adult in the room. But at the time I wasn’t conscious of that.
Getting mad could actually last for days
I would withdraw myself from the person I was mad at. Though my mother’s warning wasn’t buried too far under the riled up part of me, I had little desire to step toward the person I was mad at to redo myself—to reconnect.
Instead of ReSpeaking myself or apologizing, or simply stating what I needed, I was more comfortable with silently waiting for them to make the first move.
Then, one fatal night, only 4 days after we’d had a fight, my sister, Sarah, was killed. She was crossing the street and hit by a drunk driver. This was the first argument we’d ever had, so it felt like a big deal, and I perceived myself to be right, of course.
When I left her that day of the fight we were still mad at each other. I was thinking, “Oh well—we’ll work it out.” I remember my mother’s voice being there, even then, yet I wasn’t anywhere near ready to let go of my side of the argument.
We loved each other—so I knew we’d work it out
Sadly, I learned the hard way—what my mama meant. With Reology I’ve learned the art of the redo. I make a point now to not only take responsibility for my part in any flare up, but also try to understand the other person’s point of view—even when I disagree.
And, now, I try to redo myself as soon as I am conscious of any tension starting to build. Better yet, I’ve learned to do the redo in my head before anything hurtful comes out of my mouth.
I would give anything to redo that day with my sister. And, I’ve learned a lot from that loss.
Sometimes it may take a moment to regain my balance, reconnect with myself, and then come back with my redo so that I can say myself more maturely—but I’ll never go to bed angry again.