Forgiveness breaks the chain

freedom-through-forgiveness

There are some days when I find it so hard to forgive. Recently, I have found myself being miserable, feeling burdened and tired. A quick survey of my last few months led me to believe that I was being drained by the negative emotions I had brewing inside.

Gasp! ME?! But I am NOT like THAT!

But here it is: Someone wronged me (or so I believed); an incident that I was already feeling sensitive about was broadcasted to others and I was embarrassed and angry. Angry with myself for doing that stupid thing and angry at her for not only being aware of it BUT for telling others! Oh the shame! When you are competitive, self conscious and somewhat insecure, incidents such as these catapult you into a downward spiral of harboured anger and resentment, which can quickly become something physical.

As it so happens, I was put on blast. It was highlighted, quite publicly that I was harbouring resentment and that it was stifling me, pretty much.  Imagine, I was already sensitive about it and now others KNEW how I truly felt! Surprisingly, it was okay with me because I was fed up with how it made me feel. Chained, stifled, heavy, miserable, disgruntled (ALL THE TIME!) and most of all, unhappy.

I am typically a happy, cool, relaxed girl. I had made it my mission, early in life, to let go of things quickly because life was just too short. I have found however, sometimes it’s hard to let go and forgive. Mostly, in those times when you feel wronged and justified in your hurt. You want to lash out and you feel like forgiving is letting ‘them get away with it’. And it’s not as though you don’t want to; but somehow the thought of it won’t let go.

So what to do? I’ve come to know this truth: Forgiveness is tied to blessing and total well-being. You physically harm yourself when you choose not to forgive. Not only is that true, but you are tied to someone who most likely have already forgotten about the incident while you are still fuming inside and harming yourself! A close friend said it best about a year ago: “I don’t know why some people do not choose to be better instead of bitter”. Ouch. She couldn’t have known I would be struggling with that right now.

It’s a matter of choice: you can keep the feeling and stay mad all the time or choose to let go and live.

So today, right now, in this moment, I am choosing better. I don’t like that feeling and I enjoy being happy and free too much. “Whom the Lord has set free is free indeed” (John 8:36). Make the choice to allow no negative incident/experience to limit your freedom- choose to break the chains. As Bob Marley said “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds”. Emotions ties us to the experience and the individual, and we become slaves to a feeling. Enslavement of any kind, first begins in the mind. It is also where freedom begins. The healing starts when we decide to renew our mind and spirit, and take that step towards our inner peace. At some point or the other, we will be wronged or we will wrong another. We will have to decide to forgive, seek forgiveness and also release ourselves from the mistake that we made.  An important part of the transaction is forgiving yourself.  That is something that we sometimes forget to do.

Remember – the shoe will be on the other foot someday. As we say in Jamaica “Today fi you, tomorrow fi me” (today you go through and tomorrow, it’s my turn). Forgive because you too will need forgiveness.  If you want to be selfish – do it for yourself. It’s the only way you will have freedom and peace of mind.

 

Incomplete

As much as we want to divorce ourselves from our collective history, there is no denying or escaping its impact on our lives.

I often read or hear of individuals who, upon becoming adults, liberated themselves so to speak, from their families. They want absolutely nothing to do with them. I used the term liberate, because from what I have gathered, there seemed to be a sort of imprisonment, where the individual was being stifled and needed room to breathe and grow.

On occasions, I too have felt that need.

In households where there has been decades or generations of struggle, secrets, discontent, a culture of poverty and a deficit in vision, there is often a child or two born into the group who ends up being viewed as an oddity or an anomaly. You’re different, so much so that you stand out in every way possible that one can imagine. There was a point that I even wondered if I was wrongfully placed into my family. My views and visions were so divergent, that I despaired of life itself. I felt like the piece of a puzzle that the manufacturer mistakenly placed in the wrong box.

How time changes one’s perspective. After years of desiring to get away, I only want to be with them. Adulthood has shown me just how alike we are. We may express ourselves differently but we all want the same things. Conversations across dinner tables and family gatherings at Christmas (that gets my anxiety level up to a pitch after a few days of being inundated with their company) has revealed a common perspective and set of experiences. There is an undeniable love and respect, one that requires us to speak to each other, all seven of us (two males, five girls), every single day, even for a brief moment (thank goodness for technology  or ours phone bills would be astronomical!).

We are more alike than I thought. I can’t survive without them.

I know much more about myself to admit that despite our connection, I still need my space. I cannot deal with all of our personalities, all at once. I have to take them installments. One of the males is my twin, and whenever we don’t get to speak to each other for extended periods (life happens), I miss him with a pain that is so deep that it becomes physical. I often find myself yearning for their company.

I appreciate them. It is the experience of being a part of this family that has shaped the woman I am today. Pity, growing up I couldn’t appreciate it or them. But thank goodness for the eventuality of a mature mind. It has shown me how incomplete I would be without them.

 

Who knows?

I woke up laughing this morning from a dream about two crazy people that I have in my life – and thinking of how grateful I am to have the quality of friendships I’ve been blessed with.

I had gone to bed -prayerful because of the troubles that people I love so much are going through and also thankful that we have each other. Grateful that no matter what, we’re HERE for each other, present to share in the troubles and willing to help to make the burden lighter in any way that we can. Sometimes all you can do is listen and pray. Council if you’re able to, but most times, all you’re required to do is listen. They just need to vent and to know that you care enough to help them bear the burden.

But after my happy awakening, my joy turned to sorrow.

A neighbour’s house was on fire. To make matters worse, it was lit by her husband.

The thing is, I’ve always seen these people and thought “Aww, they’re so in love ,so romantic. He went to meet her at work!”. The fact is, they had really bad problems, to the point where he threatened to harm her.

I ran to help, to try and salvage something from the home but alas, nothing could be saved. The smouldering wood reminded be of the flaming passion between them, that burned out of control, to the point that it has almost consumed them. It certainly consumed their marriage, for nothing is left of it. Just a blackened spot that marked its existence, where their ‘love’ once lived.

I wonder about the relationship. Could it have been salvaged? were the issues to deep to come back from? Now there’s a husband, a father on the run from the law, a devastated woman who is not only scared for her life but also broken by this tragedy.

The thing is we never know what is happening in someone’s life, in their mind. Often we see people who look like they have it together but the fact may be stranger then fiction. People have their public faces and their private lives. We only see what they want us to see and often-times what we want to, what makes us comfortable. Do we really want to know? Do we care enough to help?

It’s several hours later but its been a bewildering day for me. I am still shocked, despite what I see and hear on the news, when things like this happen. I can’t begin to imagine what she is feeling now, if she’s able to feel anything at all.