Hello Dear Ones!
Just the other day I was chatting with an acquaintance who felt she could trust me enough to share some challenges she was having. Normally I steer any such conversations away from the negative or I walk away – in this case, hang up the phone – if I’m unsuccessful in altering the focus to a more positive influence.
For this particular conversation, though, I sensed something of value in hearing this woman out. I’m still not certain if it was for her benefit or mine. The fact that I’m the one writing about it today indicates to me that it was for my own benefit. Part of me hopes that something in our discussion stayed with her and may have helped her in some way. It is not my place to know.
Here is the gist of the chat: Miss X experienced a nine hour sojourn in the Emergency Room at her local hospital – from 6pm to 3am – a few days ago. She was still in pain, obviously exhausted having had no sleep and wound up from the drugs they had given her. She was worried, angry, frustrated and confused on top of it all.
I listened to her list of symptoms, what she remembered of the event – the tests they did, the doctors she saw, the decisions they made. They sent her home telling her to await a call from the specialist once the test results were known. The drugs they gave her were to make her comfortable.
Okay, nothing out of the ordinary in the details. I said the appropriate: “Yes? Mmm-hmmm. Oh? and Really?” as the story unfolded. Overall her health has not been good the past several months and, in her estimation, this is one more thing to be concerned about.
Then she said the oddest thing. Something to the effect that: if the woman in the apartment downstairs (Mrs Y) hadn’t said such nasty things to her back in January and hadn’t gotten her so upset, none of this would have happened.
I think I actually gasped out loud. My mind was a bit confused for a moment trying to relate the two situations. Then I realized that even if Miss X herself did not realize what she had just done, she had revealed the exact reason for her health issues! Miss X was so angry at Mrs Y that she had allowed the anger to explode within her very being. Not willing to let the anger go, Miss X kept it inside where it festered till it had no choice but to express itself in physical symptoms – her body hoping to show her that the only person suffering for her anger was herself.
How often do we hold on to anger, grudges and hurt? Resentments can live long past the event – recalling the reason those feelings first arose. Often times the feelings grow – getting larger and more powerful over time. Replaying the scenario in our heads over and over and over again. The resulting injury is only to the one holding to the negative emotions. The person who initially caused this response (in this case Mrs Y) has long gone on their way living his/her life as though no damage has been done. None was to them! But the person who holds on to the negative emotions (Miss X) is affected until s/he is able to let go and forgive.
I asked Miss X if she was ready to stop being ‘mad’ at Mrs Y. “Oh, I’m not mad at her” came the response! Yet then she proceeded to tell me, in even more graphic detail, about the incident, how it had hurt her, confused her, made her angry … you get the picture. Miss X was lying to herself. She had not let go. She was still holding on with both fists gripped tightly to her painful memories. Is that not madness?
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
or how be …
“Unforgiveness is the poison we drink every day hoping that the other person will die.”
then here’s another …
“As long as you don’t forgive, you and (whoever or) whatever it is will occupy rent-free space in your mind.”
My heart aches for this woman, Miss X. I can do nothing to help with this situation. What I can do is love her for who she is at the core of her being. She will not heal, physically or emotionally, until such a time as she is both ready and willing to forgive another human being (Mrs Y) for being human and making a mistake.
Over the years I have found folks tend to believe that when they forgive someone, they are doing it for the other person. Truly, though, when we honestly forgive someone we heal ourselves in the process.
For many years, so very long ago, I was a woman who held to anger. I am so grateful that my life has changed, that I have grown to become more of the person I dreamed of becoming. In the process I have been able to let go and forgive those who did the best they could in the moment, though it may have hurt me at the time. Usually the other person was totally unaware of the hurt and the damage left behind. And as joyously as I live my life, I may have unknowingly and unintentionally caused hurt to someone else. None of us knows the effect our living our lives has upon another. All we can do is live our truth one moment at a time – allowing all others the same grace.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
Should there be someone in your life you would love to know how to forgive, especially if that someone is yourself, here’s a website that might offer some insight: http://www.howtoforgive.ca/ or another from the Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com
BTW: to paraphrase a quote I read recently – our greatest adversaries are often our best co-creators! ( Abraham)
In Light and Laughter,