I happened to hear a smidge of a sermon as I drove down the road yesterday. My new car is an old car… 1984… and had an old style cassette deck/manual radio tuner so I get the opportunity to hear random stuff a lot more than I used to in my old, “new” car (which I’d love to sell if you know anybody who’s interested in a 2004 Volvo V70).
Anyway… I love random stuff. I also love trying to find meaning and meaningful lessons wherever they may appear. The sermon was about forgiveness. The preacher made the statement that our physical bodies are not made to harbor anger, resentment, and other negative emotions. He backed it up by citing the medical effects of being filled with that kind of bitterness. We do get sick when we have “sick” thoughts. Or, if you don’t buy that, we can also document that laughter correlates with improved health, specifically, a stronger immune system.
I laugh a lot. It’s important.
Then, the message went on to discuss how grandparents love grandkids… or parents and children… We can be totally consumed and disarmed by the wholehearted embrace of a child. We don’t usually expect them to be like we assume adults “should” be and, thus, forgive them their mistakes and experiments and mischief much more easily than we forgive the adults around us.
As I listened to this, it occurred to me that I’ve been holding the adults in my life to adult standards. Sounds reasonable, but as I thought about those who have hurt me most deeply, I realized that their behavior was truly not out of hatred or malice, but a result of the harms done to them years ago. In other cases, or in combination, some of those individuals simply have not attained the level of emotional wisdom/enlightenment that I’d so dearly love for them to have. That is not their fault anymore than it’s a toddler’s fault when they fail to make it to the potty in time. Adults poop all over relationships periodically just like toddlers poop their pants.
Please forgive the graphic metaphor. I have a toddler. There’s a lot of poop in my life right now.
Anyway, I don’t want to run on too long. The dear girl is going to require my attention very soon hahaha. I can’t be mad or hurt about that in any kind of logical world. She has two year old needs as she is supposed to.
So my experiment for today and forward is whenever I want to say or think something angry or hurt or bitter, to consciously change that to a conscious statement: “I forgive you”
“I forgive you for not realizing that I’m too stressed to deal with that right now”
“I forgive you for not understanding how I feel”
“I forgive you for being absent minded and inconsiderate”
“I forgive you for not having more self control”
“I forgive you for not knowing any better”
Yes. This sounds totally cheeseball, but it’s already helping me see more clearly WHY I’m feeling bitter and hurt about various things and to identify the issues in MYSELF that I need to forgive and repair as well.
Onward and upward