#Mad, Angry, Anger

In the mid-1970s, the song ‘Love is in the Air’ was popular. The lyrics begin with, “Love is in the air, everywhere I look around. Love is in the air, every sight and every sound.” Today it seems those words are more like ‘Anger is in the Air’ and they are becoming more popular. In homes and at workplaces, in hallways and on highways, in schools and at stadiums, even grocery stores and gas stations have anger in the air.


Are we too tired, hungry, and stressed out? Tired insomniacs may not find relief with melatonin. The hungry – angry – hangry meal skippers may not have nutritional needs met with a candy bar. Stressed out citizens may not find lasting comfort from shopping therapy online or binge watching on-demand.


All attempts at humor aside, this #mad, angry, anger thing is a real problem. There is a time and place for righteous and justified anger. However, anger is becoming a ‘right’ for everyone, every time, and for everything under the sun. Family conversations abrupt in anger. Civil discourse is hijacked by anger. Team meetings are derailed by anger. This anger thing is a real problem.


  • “In a controversy, the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.” –
  • Buddha
  • “When anger rises, think of the consequences – speak the truth, do not yield to anger.” – Confucius


  • “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” – Aristotle
  • “Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.” – Seneca
  • “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.” – Marcus Aurelius
  • “Five enemies of peace inhabit with us – avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.” – Petrarch
  • “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “The five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • “Revenge and retaliation always perpetuate the cycle of anger, fear and violence.” – Coretta Scott King
  • “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions.” – Henri Nouwen
  • “I get angry at a principle, not a person.” – Norman Schwarzkopf
  • “Get mad, then get over it.” – Colin Powell

There is a time and place for righteous and justified anger. Sometimes anger is the right emotion to express. Nevertheless, anger cannot become a ‘right’ for every grievance – whether real or perceived – if our desired outcome is peace in our homes, workplaces, and communities.



Ch O


Chaplain, (Maj.) John O’Brien

115th Fighter Wing Chaplain Corps

Truax Field, Madison, WI

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