Seventy Times Seven, OR Oops, I Did it Again
I wish I did yoga.
My mouth is as dry as the desert, but I expect a downpour on the cheeks soon. The surface-tension on my salt-water reserves will burst any minute, but hopefully not until I get out of my parents' house, away from the prying eyes of family members who love me out of loyalty and who will ask too many questions. I won't answer them.
Remember how I thought I'd made such progress on the kindness front a while ago? I had a flash of reality last night and saw I was wrong. And my burgeoning hope for reconciliation with several important people in my life was dashed a bit ago. I'd fooled myself into complacency, and thinking that progress was enough. I'm only human, but it destroys every shred of happiness I have to know that I've robbed someone else of even a bit of theirs.
Once upon a time, I was on a mini-road trip with some friends. One girl suggested we play a get-to-know-one-another game. Each person would ask a question that everyone else in the van had to answer, including themselves. One person asked what was our favorite quality about ourselves. I said that it was my propensity for forgiveness. I generally don't hold grudges. Or so I thought.
Oh, in some ways, I do pretty well on this score. I've been blessed with experience after experience to realize my previous judgments were wrong, and to see people more clearly, and to focus on their goodness rather than their mistakes. Anyone who knows me has a very clear understanding of my imperfection in this quest, but I can say with complete integrity I try very hard. But this virtue I've worked so hard to cultivate has become a vice, inasmuch as I take it for granted that others will frankly forgive my follies as quickly and completely as I forgive theirs. Oh complacency-- carefully leading me to hell.
Maybe I like to forgive because I know how much forgiveness I require-- especially from the people I love most. Why do we manage to hurt the people we care most about? Last night, I got my feelings hurt. First, I took it out on someone who didn't have anything to do with the situation, and I hate myself for it. I tried to apologize, but only time will tell if the person will forgive me. Then, I was short with the person who did the initial hurting. I don't think he understands how consistently he's managed to tear me down over some period of time, but I really regretted it. So I stayed up til 3 thinking of how I could sincerely apologize and try to rectify the problem. It was my number one priority today, but it wasn't well received. As a matter of fact, it led to more hurting (with me as the recipient this time). But before my loyal friends and fans go hating the person inflicting this recent grief, I beg you not to. I feel awful, but his honesty was invaluable. I'm not as kind as I thought I was. The image I present to the people I love and care about is not the one I meant to project. I'm now faced with the immense challenge of fixing it.
So in the meantime, gentle reader, do me a favor. Forgive those who trespass against you. Please give people the benefit of the doubt. Love in spite of weakness and err on the side of compassion. Please forebear, because those around you are doing their best. Or in my case, I thought I was. I see now my imagined "best" was really weak. I can at least guarantee better.
And if you've been one of my victims, intentional or otherwise, I am sorry. I've got a lot of repenting to do, a lot of apologizing, and a lot of better living.