Wednesday, February 3, 2010


“Fry those Bastards! I want Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols hanged no trials necessary.” These were the words of Bud Welch whose 23 year old daughter was killed in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. “From the moment I learned it was a bomb I survived on anger and hate.”

Bud’s anger was focused on Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, and like so many others, Bud wished for their speedy conviction and execution. “I was opposed to the death penalty all my life until my daughter Julie Marie was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. For many months after the bombing I could have killed Timothy McVeigh myself. Temporary insanity is real, and I have lived it. You can’t think of enough adjectives to describe the anger and hatred I felt. But after time, I was able to examine my conscience, and I realized that if McVeigh is put to death, it won’t help me in the healing process. People talk about executions bringing closure. But how can there be closure when my little girl is never coming back. I finally realized that the death penalty is all about revenge and hate, and revenge and hate are why Julie Marie and 167 others are died.”

When Bud saw McVeigh’s father on television a few months after the bombing, his emotions began to change. He realized that “this man has lost a child too.” Bud eventually arranged to meet with Timothy McVeigh’s father, Bill. “I saw a deep pain in a father’s eye, but also an incredible love for his son.” Bud says, “I was able to tell him that I truly understood the pain that he was going through, and that he – as I – was a victim of what happened in Oklahoma City.”

Not all of us could come to this conclusion so quickly. Yet before Bud could get to this place of recognizing that both fathers were dealing with a painful lose he had to deal with his personal healing. What Bud was able to accomplish you too will be able to do, if you choose.

Step Three: Working with Anger. Anger tells us that our circumstances need to change. If we can’t let go of our anger it is also telling us that we need to change. This is the time when we get into the trenches of our emotions and have the difficult dialogue with ourselves about what happened and how we will choose to deal with it in a healing capacity. It is the time when we roll up our sleeves and become very honest with ourselves. Our tendencies are to want to feel sorry for ourselves and stay stuck in a victim role. By playing “poor me,” we disempower ourselves or continue to play the blame game and not take responsibility or positive action in our lives. Instead of seeing the situation as the good guy versus the bad guy, we would be better served to learn the lessons our emotions are trying to teach us and to understand what is making the person behave that way.

This is a difficult phase because it requires introspection and honest soul searching. Although we may think we are angry at someone, else if we are having difficulty letting go of anger it is an indication that we are in the need of healing. Don’t be afraid to dialogue with the anger inside of you. Ask your anger what it wants to tell you. You can have this conversation be either writing down whatever comes to mind or sharing what is inside of you with someone you trust. Honor what your anger says to you. You may need to journal many times focusing on your anger. You can also draw it. There may be multiple meanings to your anger. Your anger could be protecting you. It could also be telling you what you need to do to heal.

The question you need to ask yourself is “What am I accusing the other person of?” because the truth is that is what we are secretly accusing ourselves of. Our egos are slippery snakes so the content will be different but the form will be the same. For example we may never betray our spouse by being unfaithful but have we ever been unfaithful to ourselves? When we can look at that within ourselves we can begin to recognize the humanity in your spouse. This is not to say that you don’t take appropriate action to protect yourself. By seeing that we are all capable of betrayal it will help as let go of our anger around the situation and have greater peace of mind.

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