If you are mostly human, every now and again you find yourself in still angry or hurt about something in the past.
I've had more than my fair share of things in my life that maybe weren't fair to me or were, if we are being completely honest, completely destructive. And, for the most part, I'd like to think that I've done a fairly good job shaping myself to not being an angry or bitter person in general. I could be -- but I don't really want to be that kind of person. I've moved on, put things in the past, realized that it's not the end of the world, that there are worse things that could have happened and/or that we aren't granted any promises at all of anything when we are born into this world, etc. and so on and so forth. I've stretched my faith to include loving others and allowing the possibility for God. Whatever it's taken to put particular things behind me, I've tried to do. With some success.
Still. Life is rarely at 100%, 100% of the time. There are days like today when, even unexepectedly, I find myself still hurt and struggling with something in particular. Something brings it to the surface and I have to figure out why I am being sullen, or even acting ridiculous.
Which is when I start to remind myself that:
1) Feeling hurt and angry even years later is unproductive. It robs me of joy or even peace now.
2) I have a particular perspective on how things happened, but I may not be fully correct. I have no way of truly knowing … where someone was at emotionally and mentally at the time; if there were other things, other factors that contributed to the situation, what their motives were, etc. All I know was what I experienced -- but, in reality, my experience within the situation may only be part of a larger story.
3) There are circumstances which contributed to the situation. Did the circumstance have to be a limitation or boundary of sorts? No. But still, some things weren’t their fault.
4) It wasn’t intentionally malicious. Incredibly thoughtless and unsupportive, yes. But malicious, no.
5) Being jealous or resentful of 3rd outside parties is a little childish. It’s not their fault that I got what I got so long ago. I need to not mix the two.
6) Even so, forgiveness is really hard and, until I figure it out, I will hurt.
It's easy to recognize that forgiveness is the answer -- the hard part is figuring out how.
Sometimes we don't get an apology, while other times apologies help little towards feeling the peace and resolution that true forgiveness brings.
Sometimes, forgiveness will lead to a mended relationship -- a friendship healed. Othertimes, the offender may not be a part of your life anymore and the only person benefitting from the work of forgiveness is yourself (and those remaining in your life). Still, it's worth it. Forgiving someone else is just as much for you as it is for them.
Sometimes we will get understanding of why what happened to us, happened. And, unfortunately, there may be no good answer -- or even any answer at all. And while this makes forgiveness all the more challenging, it doesn't irradicate neither the need nor the responsibility to try to forgive. You just have harder work to do to make it happen. It can feel so discouraging, yes? Remember, peace is on the other side of that hard work.
Sometimes, we are the offender. And then we are the ones on the other sides of forgiveness -- working and waiting for it to be dispensed. We may be in a situation where we are forced to accept that people may choose to not engage us any longer as a result of the damage we've done. And then, of course, there is the business of when we have to forgive ourselves. Tough stuff.
Forgiveness: necessary, ongoing, complicated work and/or process of work to which there is no single solution, but that which brings peace to one's life and grace to each other.
Ultimately, I believe forgiveness is possible and it is one of the ultimate fulfillments of "love thy neighbor". Contention and anger inhibits love, of which we can never have too much. ... Forgiveness is an extension of love.
And of course, as I always say, love is never a waste of time.
All I have to do is .... figure out how to do it when faced with the need for it. *le sigh*
But for today? This has been a good start. A start.