This week has been an emotional rollercoaster. Some, who know me well, might even use the word “nightmare” to describe it. I won’t be able to detail all of the contributing factors that compounded my sadness, but maybe that’s the lesson! I have long believed that at the basic heart of man, we are all the same. I believed that people will do the right thing, that love can fix everything, that kindness matters. I certainly am no Polly Anna, as I realize the sin in this world permeates even the kindest souls at times, but with that sin there generally comes guilt and asking for forgiveness. Sometimes, it doesn’t come with guilt, much less forgiveness. You will notice that I used the word “believed” not “believe”. I’m learning that just because I want it to be so, doesn’t mean it will be so…… In most aspects of my life I tend to be an optimist, then there are the areas where my pessimism is horrible!! I was however truly optimistic that through communication and the intense desire to garner peace, that we might be able to step out of our own shoes and try on someone else’s shoes. That maybe even perhaps we might find ourselves feeling something rarely acknowledged, something that felt like compassion, or empathy, or understanding. What I have found is that unless you have someone expecting you to be the best part of yourself you will not rise to the occasion. This is one of the most painful pills to swallow, but I am the lucky one. I am lucky because I won’t allow the sad reality to steal my joy, or to take the goodness. I am lucky because I love with my whole being. I can also move on without being told twice, although that feels a bit like quitting, it isn’t!
Years ago, I met my husband (28 1/2 to be exact) who is nine years my senior. His life experience taught him that without the love of God, there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there is no understanding. Without understanding there can be no compassion. Without any of this, there is nothing. For some people, nothing is what they want, and the void feels good. For me, nothing is meaningless. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you put yourself in the path of evil, or anger, or in the way of people who truly don’t love you, it just means that with it you are able to move on in a direction with your life that doesn’t include the people who thrive on the destruction and chaos, without shame or guilt.
When I was younger, I certainly had no direction in my life that would lead to forgiveness; anger was a huge part of my energy, and I am not even sure I could recognize normal love. I am so thankful and forever grateful that the man I chose has stood by me and loved me when I am unlovable, but most of all expected me to become the best part of myself. It has taken years and years for me to understand why I am the way I am, but it’s taken even more for me to love myself for the hard work I have put into being compassionate, listening, loving and mostly forgiving. I can rejoice in the differences. By that I mean that I rejoice in the differences in people because so often the lesson is backward. The lesson shows me who I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be someone who must have everyone thinking the way I do to be accepted. I don’t want to be the one who is unable to try to recognize that just because someone else’s story doesn’t line up with mine that they are wrong. I don’t want to be unforgiving and at odds. I want to believe that people are good, for the most part. The biggest disappointment to me is the people who only find joy in others pain. Those who find gossip to be soothing. Those who really like watching the struggles of their fellow man. Those who really think that they are better than others. Those are the people who truly bring me down….. I can’t watch the news.
I stopped at a basilica to pray. I feel completely peaceful within those walls. I lit a candle and I prayed for my repentant heart, peace and understanding. I prayed that I would have guidance and clarity along my journey, and I asked that there be protection from those who wish me ill. The prayers I prayed were different this time. My thoughts can be a burden sometimes because my heart is too big. So what’s the lesson you might ask? I think the lesson is that in order to have peace, you must love yourself and take pride in the work you do here on earth. I think the lesson is that not everyone loves you, and that’s ok, because there are lots of people who do. I think the lesson is that kindness still matters. I think the lesson is that there is never enough forgiveness in this world. I think the lesson is that some chapters are never meant to be reopened, and that’s ok too.
Until then…..peace….forgiveness and move on