"I spent a good half hour pounding those throw pillows. It wasn't a pretty sight, a grieving mom suddenly in tune with her rage. But that moment was a turning point in my faith life. I was sharing my secrets with God. I was visiting the dark cellar of my true and nonnegotiable feelings. I was confronting the wrongness, the unfairness, and the utter awfulness of losing my child.

"In the days and weeks to come, God and I had regular showdowns in the basement. As I pounded pillows until they were flattened, it didn't seem that I was praying — but I was. God and I were communicating on a deep and personal level. I was sharing confidential information with my truest friend — all the sadness, fear, and anger I had tried so hard to deny. And God listened. That, I discovered, is what I needed most of all.

"Four years later, as I walked along a lakeside path, I let myself rest in the wisdom I had gained during those first months of grief. The Lord has given each of us a capacity to feel deeply. We need to react, in some way, to the painful experiences that are part of life. We would not be fully alive if we couldn't cry or kick or shout.

"We can always come to God just as we are. Our lives don't need to be perfect. And although we need to find healthy ways to express our anger, God will love us whether our hands are raised in praise or clenched into fists.

"Today, if you are struggling with anger, don't pretend it's not there. Make your way down to the cellar of your soul. It might be a dark place, but the light of God's presence waits for you there. Be honest with God. Pound a few pillows. Don't be afraid to shout out your pain."