I had resigned myself to the fact that my life is… lets speak candidly here… crap! Why? Have you ever looked at your life and said, I want better, I want more, this can’t be it, why does this happen to me? Well here’s some news, most people do. I’m not talking here about having enough and wanting more, I’m talking about wanting what others seem to have. Yes, I have heard the stories about the grass being greener, and not coveting the things that others have, the green eyes of jealousy etcetera. I’m not talking about that either, I’m talking about a childhood that by today’s measure would have had people jailed, a husband that cheated and after denying the fact and accusing me of doing the same took the business that I had built from the ground up. Blocked fallopian tubes and no financial means of circumventing the issue, step children who… well let’s leave that one alone lest I say something nasty about their mother who reminds me of my own. Let’s not speculate on how my tubes got blocked, the doctors say it may have been from an unknown/unnoticed infection, suffice to say I have one child from early on in the marriage and none thereafter, only a husband who, in his own words, “just wanted to have some fun”. So, back to my opening line, I had resigned myself to the fact my life is crap!
I’m one who speaks on forgiveness being necessary for our own health, and for the most part I have been able to manage this, for example, the man who daily beat my sister and I for many years, are a non-issue to me. What I struggle with is the blue faced liars and those who stood by and watched and did nothing! Sometimes it helps to know that those were days when you didn’t interfere in the business of others, thus was the culture of the day, I mean we had only just come out of the time when it was okay for a husband to beat his wife, sad to see this still happening today.
For many years I hated those who did nothing, then I resigned myself to the notion that maybe they didn’t know any better, or they didn’t think it was their place to step in, that maybe they didn’t know after all and my sister and I were to remain alone in this pain. I later found out people did know, and yes they thought it wasn’t their place to intervene, to add insult to injury some thought what we experienced was “simply a heavy handed form of discipline”!
This simply added to my inner burning, not only did people stand by and watch, they made excuses for not actioning any form of help. I ran away from home at 16, and tried my best to put this all behind me, my burning had birthed thoughts that I would not be like them. As an adult I learned better the act of forgiveness and felt I had managed to master this time in my life, I even began, like those who watched, to make excuses for their behaviour, unbeknownst to me I was allowing people in my life now to do the same. They just became more people who I had to ‘forgive’.
I thought I had turned a corner when I had my son and sought to introduce him to his grandmother, but little did I know that what I was doing was not forgiving, merely burying the hurt and trying to forget the actions of others. I later learned that forgiveness is not about forgetting, nor is it about an ability to instantly put a stop to the hurt.
So many have told me that we only need to forgive once and it is done, if it comes back it basically means you didn’t do it right, try try try again, until it doesn’t bother you anymore. No wonder this forgiveness thing wasn’t working for me. Then I found out that it’s not how it’s meant to work, like love, forgiveness is a decision not a feeling, it’s not about emotion, it’s about a process and growth. It’s more than just saying the words and living out your life until bad things happen and oops you fell out of love. Just the same for love, forgiveness is about working toward it, not some magical thing that hangs around until someone bursts the pretty bubble.
Like I said I had resigned myself to such a life as this, until I read about the difference between resignation and acceptance.
Resignation. The word is so final, so complete, so… the end. It screams “it’s ending”, “it’s over”, “give up”, “stop fighting”.
Acceptance, however, speaks of something completely different, though the outward action looks much the same, acceptance keeps going, it whispers, “okay, this is new”, “what are we going to do about this?”, its embracing, welcoming… positive. It speaks of letting go and moving forward.
This is what I believe to be the problem with the method of forgiveness I was trying to operate under, it was looking at things through the lens of resignation “it’s over”, when the lens should have been acceptance, “where do we go from here?”.
Here are some words for thought, my own twist on the writings of Creath Davis…
Resignation is a surrender to whatever will be
Acceptance is a surrender to being
Resignation lies down quietly on the path of life
Acceptance rises up with purpose and destiny
Resignation says “I can’t”
Acceptance looks for hope
Resignation paralyses the life process
Acceptance releases the process for its greater creativity
Resignation says “it’s all over for me”
Acceptance says, “now I am here, what next?”
Resignation says “what a waste”
Acceptance says “In what redemptive way can I use this mess?”
Resignation says “I am alone”
Acceptance says “I belong”
Resignation says “I’m done”
Acceptance is choosing to walk forward
Acceptance, I believe is the key to forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a process, a journey, not a destination, and though I had laid down in Death Valley, I have chosen to get up and walk and I am still walking through the forgiveness of those who have wronged me, I’m sure not ever going to forget, but I am choosing to not let the burning consume me any longer. Has anything changed externally? Have people apologised? Some have, did it make a difference? Not really. Once the pottery is shattered can it ever be the same again? No, but if it doesn’t resign itself to fate, it can be painstakingly repaired and become even more remarkable (look up the art of Kintsugi).
I have rejected resignation and chosen acceptance, I have picked myself up, dusted myself off and I am Walking Life’s Path, will you join me?