So, I know this is a completely different DIY project than we normally share with you guys, and I promise that next week we’ll be back to the normal program. But, events in the last week have caused me to reflect back on close to 28 years of breathing and take stock. Recently, one of my grandparents passed away after a long, steady decline in health. However, we weren’t close and I hadn’t seen him in about 12 years. I’ve harbored a fair amount of anger toward this man for a better part of my life – not because he was causing me pain, but because his absence made one of my parents hurt.
I’m a “fix – it” type of person, I’d rather see everyone happy. The realist in me knows that it is impossible to make everyone happy at the same time. This was one situation in which I had no control, no way to fix it. Conflicted – that’s what I’ve felt to the largest degree. Why am I not having an “appropriate” emotional response? What’s frightening to me is how indifferent I feel. Robin Williams’ death elicited more of a reaction from me than did the death of someone of my own blood. What’swrongwithme.
But, I’m realizing that nothing is wrong with me. It is genuinely hard to grieve the loss of something that you never knew. Sure, I am sad that my parent is experiencing this and that they are (rightfully) upset – but, I’m not personally sad for myself. At this point I’m wrapping my head around the fact that forgiveness is truly more for the living. Who is this said anger affecting? Certainly not him.
So, I’m pulling a Frozen and letting it go. Exhaling out all the bitterness and inhaling sweet release. It’s true; you never know just how much that anger keeps you bound until you allow yourself to be free of it. This growing up thing is hard, and there is no concrete trajectory. This is not some monopoly round where you move around the board in one direction and occasionally collect $200 (or get out of jail free) – why do you think the board game Life has twists and turns? Part of growing up is accepting the things that you cannot change and opting to instead change your perception.
YOLO – yeah, that just happened. It is, however, true. I’m not going to throw myself out of a plane or spend all of my money or live like I’m dying every day (sorry Tim McGraw). The people that are present in my life are there for a reason and I do them a disservice if I’m living a stunted life because I’m too preoccupied with holding grudges. I’m realizing that it is far more important to focus on having meaningful relationships, a clean heart and a clear head than it is to hang on to past hurts. I want to leave a legacy of love, faith and understanding. Not hurtful words and painful memories.
Forgiveness is an art form that we must be diligent in practicing every day. It’s not something that will happen immediately or occur easily. I unequivocally believe that forgiveness requires strength, and those that are unable to forgive are not weak – they just haven’t reached that part of their journey yet.
So, in lieu of encouraging you to start a new home improvement project, I encourage you to assess whatever grudges you may be holding and ask yourself this: “how is this hurt serving to benefit me?” If you can’t come up with any answers, then wash your hands of it. Take control of you, and live the best you possibly can…for you.