When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free. Katherine Ponder
We say we are living a life of no regrets. Yet some always sneak their way in no matter how we think they won’t. We hesitate to call someone back and learn we lost our last chance to speak to them. If things were left unsaid, or a situation arose that caused contention, even small situations can cause contention, we’ll now never be able to fix that relationship. We’ll have to forgive ourselves for being human. It also is one of the realities of life.
When people are aging we know there will be the last conversation, the last visit. It isn’t only the people we expect will die, who do. We all will, and it can happen when we least expect it.
I remember talking to a lady about her Grandmother who was expecting to die. Every night she had her house ready so if she died in the night, she wouldn’t be found in a messy house. She told her granddaughter, “It takes a long time to die.” She lived for eight years thinking this might be her last day on earth.
We are told that is how we should live. What I got from the granddaughter is her grandmother wasn’t actually living; she was just waiting to die. There is a difference.
My Mom’s niece, who calls her “Aunty Mom” and says she’s the 10th child, had an opportunity to visit Mom when she was in the vicinity and she took it. She still had to take a plane and rent a 4wheel drive to get there. We think we are too busy, it’s too expensive, and we don’t have the time. Mom says they talked, and talked, they didn’t leave the house they were so busy talking. They had a lovely visit and I’m sure my cousin is glad she went more than the extra mile to see Mom.
Are the people with the most regrets those who cannot reconcile with people they love? They can’t forgive, they can’t heal the breach, they can’t move on from whatever caused the breach.
A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers. Robert Quillen
Too often we may be willing to heal the breach if the other person takes the initiative and does the work. We wouldn’t rebuff their offer, but we won’t make one of our own. We need to be willing to take the initiative; this is where the power to make our life better lies. When we take responsibility for what we want, we can be the agent of change. When we wait for other people to change, initiate, or tell us what to do with our lives. We give up our power. This is our life, we need to be proactive.
Do we need to have the conversations that need to be had? Can we make the apologies that need to be made? Do we need to offer the listening ear; do we need to issue the invitation? Can we invite contact?
We will regret the things we do not do, more than the things we do. That includes making the first move. If we are living a tit for tat life with hurt, blame, criticism, and judgment where does it end? We will never get off the treadmill of hurting each other until someone forgives, and quits hurting the other because they were hurt.
Can we learn to let small and big things go without reacting and turning them into bigger things? We can go round and round on this merry-go-round our whole lives. Some people, families, and communities can never let go of the hurts that they have let become part of their identity. We have to give up our grudges, we have to forgive to free ourselves and move on.
We don’t forgive others for them, when we forgive we are not saying, “What you did to me is alright.” We are saying, “I am not carrying this burden anymore. I am free.” Some of us have carried these heavy burdens for so long we don’t even know who we would be without them. Can we forgive and find out?
We can give up bondage; we can take the Devil’s noose off our neck whenever we choose to. Can we forgive and reconcile, can we go our way, free? We don’t have to continue relationships with those who have hurt us. It may seem like we are giving up our identity, we the persecuted, the judged, the criticized. We didn’t like being those things, but there is comfort in pain when it is all we know.
Giving up our identity as the persecuted, devalued, judged and criticized can be our first step on our heroes’ journey. We may even find things aren’t what we thought, and when we change the way we think, the things we think about change.
Life is a journey. If we can forgive those who hurt us and forgive ourselves for hurting others can we move further along on our journey? Are forgiveness and gratitude the way forward? If we commit our life to forgiveness and gratitude will we find peace, love, wholeness, and a life we didn’t know could be ours?
Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. Anonymous
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