I Lived a Life of Quiet Desperation

Jerald Raber 
MDI Contributor

Never let the sun go down upon your wrath he said.

Bible says it, better obey it.

No harsh words should pass your lips.

Anger is a bad emotion they taught.

If you feel it, don’t show it.

If you feel it, you are being too possessive,

Too proud,

Too worldly,

Too selfish,

Best to forgive.

Let it go. Turn the other cheek.

Don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath.

You don’t matter.

40 years.

Never feeling, only squelching.

Those injustices.

No voice.

No way to explain.

The injustices, which left him reeling.

Must be my fault he thought.

I’m a messed up person.

Something is wrong with me.

Working hard, it’s a tale.

Of sincerity and doing his best.

And failing.

Hurting and hurting others.

Wondering why things just didn’t work in relationships.


Illicit sex.




Resentment building.

Never expressed, is felt anyway,

Turns the insides into poison.

Meanwhile on the surface.

Keeps his nose clean.

Takes good care of his kids.

Is nice to his wife, always polite.

Makes good money.

Drives a motorcycle.

Things appear well,

But, inside he’s slowly dying…

Henry David Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work.”

I think about that sometimes. I lived a life of quiet desperation, living only in duty and work.

I add that the mass of men are also alone, isolated, and unsure of what to do or where to turn, even when they appear strong, confident, hard working and in charge.

They’ve learned to wear their masks well. Some show their anger often as it is the only way they feel like they are in control of at least something. Conversely, some hide their anger and are nice, in order to feel in control or at least hold the illusion of being in control. All are angry.

They have wives, children, partners, who depend on them. Personal feelings and needs have been sacrificed for the family, the business and the bills.

There are better ways. Here’s an example of one: Mentor Discover Inspire, MDI.

MDI has found a way to create safe spaces for men to risk vulnerability. In my short time here, I have learned much and continue to learn much.

We clear “lists,” the term we have for an irritation or a grudge against one of the other men. Before our meetings, we take the chance to express the list in a safe environment while maintaining our honor and our brothers. We have a way to process anger.

We have the privilege of observing and being the recipient of deep, non-judgmental compassion, which is one of MDI’s core values. We have a safe place to vent about frustrations in our personal lives.

All this is a first for me. My initial meeting, as a guest, I observed men holding each other’s feet to the fire, while still honoring them and practicing compassion. No judgment. In my 40 years I had never experienced that before. Male authority had always shamed, condemned and judged. Nothing like this beautiful way of lifting a brother up. I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of this.

I’m learning that anger is just an emotion.

Not bad, just an emotion like any other. If unexpressed, it remains lodged in my body as stress and anxiety. I’m learning to let myself feel it. To let it pass through me. I still don’t know how to express it well or what to do with the anger I carry. But I’m committed to learning, to feeling rather than suppressing.

I’m grateful for my MDI team, for the examples of good men, for role models. 

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