Anger can be destructive or can be the greatest inspiration for a solving a problem. For people with latent anger, the outbreaks are often inflicted on other people - those they love, the old lady crossing the street (unless she hits the front of your car and inflates your airbag), your pets, yourself. But, most often latent anger masquerades as other emotions.
When I am angry at myself, sometimes my anger bursts out in a shopping spree or in fierce activity. Both relieve the stress. At other times, my anger eats itself into oblivion. When I get tired of being angry, I just don't care anymore. Whatever happens, happens. If whatever depends on my action, then whatever doesn't happen. Whatever.
At a masked ball, anger can be jovial cutting remarks, sexy flirting, silence, wall-flowering, drinking, dancing every dance until you drop, cutting in on a couple that seem very happy, envy, lying - almost any emotion it wants to be. Anger uses many disguises. Depression is only one of them.
Someone said that anger is fear; yes, that's one of anger's faces, but, again, not the only one. Fear of loss of possessions, spouse, prestige, whatever you value. Fear and anger are closely related.
Anger, fear and freedom are also related. As Janis Joplin sang, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." When you feel there is nothing left to lose, when you have that freedom, then fear and anger lose their meaning. Numbness creeps into the folds where emotions once lived. You have chosen to die - however slowly that death may be; you are not living - for, if you live, you have anger and you have fear and you have hope.
Also true is that another person's anger can drain your emotions if you let it. Then you are not living either. In these last days of Lent, the image of taking up your cross is appropriate; you must take up your anger and fear and ride it out, work it out, carry it forward to resolution.
I don't know where my angers and my fears lie, but I do know that I no longer care. The motions are here; the words are here; but the life is not. So on this Palm Sunday as many church congregations read the Passion story of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem followed by his betrayal, suffering and death, I resolve to find my cross (my emotions - all of them) and bear it with as much courage and serenity as possible. Now, all I have to do is find this cross - the masquerader.