Have you ever cried and cried and cried over something until one day you look up and realize you’re not angry or hurt anymore? I may be speaking too soon, but I have lost my resentments toward a certain person in my past, and I don’t why. They have been the star of every painful and angry show in my life for several years, and tonight, after backsliding a little bit in a certain area of my life, I realized they didn’t matter.
As a person, of course, this person matters. But their behavior doesn’t matter.
I was in Albertson’s today when a person in one of those carts that handicapped people can drive came up behind me. It was an overweight older white man. My first thought was, “That man shops at Walmart.” My next thought was, “So what? So have I. Can I open my heart to this man who is irritating me for no reason right now? A handicapped man?”
The answer was, yes I could. And did. I wondered if he was alright. I wanted to make space for him to put his stuff on the belt at the cash register, even though I knew he was probably high-risk for COVID and he wouldn’t want to. It turned out, he did. He rolled up his cart and started putting things on the conveyer belt. Before that, I had a moment where I expected a woman in front of me in the line to snap at me, and she didn’t. She did the opposite of snap–she said sorry. Maybe her “sorry” (for a reason I can’t remember–the line moving too slowly, maybe) opened my heart. Because I just moved and my heart feels like an icicle. Or maybe it was the cashier. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was the man himself.
Whoever it was, for a moment, I felt like I was in Nirvana, and everyone and everything was perfect, just because I had made just the right amount of room for one of my brethren on a bad day. I’m not sure, but I think that was why I was able to (suddenly) forgive this other person from my past.
It’s like you are carrying daggers in your jacket for someone until you realize that person is two and they didn’t know better. It’s that simple. All of your expectations and resentments drip away and you’re left…really, just a lot of love.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to forgive.
By forgiving, I don’t mean being a doormat. I don’t mean letting them into your life with their two year old antics in their adult body.
I mean literally watching your pain turn into love before your eyes. As if that person was your child, or something. And you were your child too, and you knew, whatever happened, it was not your fault.
That’s where hope lies. That’s where goodness lies. In that little space where you recover the little voice that says, “It doesn’t matter” and you can have peace again. Because you can bet the person who caused you that much unrest does not have peace. If you can be big enough not to let the stuff that hurt you matter (while maintaining your self-respect) you understand love. And what we’re doing here.
It’s such a relief. That’s all.