Guess who’s back!?
It’s been a while, I know, but I’m so happy to return to familiar territory and breathe in the comforting smells of ‘home’. In the two years that I’ve been MIA, I’ve gotten up to some really incredible things. There were countless times where some of you would say, “Hey, you should blog about that!”. I know, I know! Even I told myself occasionally that it’d probably be a great story to share. But the great thing is that I’ve had the chance to be busy doing and creating experiences (COCO XO will give you some idea) so that now I can share with you in all the juicy detailed glory. That is, if I remember ha!
Speaking about remembering, I had a really great discussion with a friend today about everything from hoarding to forgiveness (good friends are great for random discussions right!), and was reminded of advice I’ve shared with you and others in my inner circle over the years. It’s interesting that while the initial intention of this advice was to help others spare themselves of life’s painful pitfalls, and yet as I read through those words of wisdom today, I was amazed at how much they apply to me right now.
The chat about hoarding prompted me to look back at my Fast Fashion post. I honestly thought, “Wow, that’s some great advice!” and I couldn’t even believe that I was the one who penned those words. It was kind of like a flip of expectations – a younger me giving advice to an older me. My mind is still spinning about that one. Let’s just say that it inspired me to do something positively challenging. I’ll definitely have to blog about that one later.
The other thing I was reminded about was the words of encouragement I shared with a family member about forgiveness. I know this is a pretty deep topic to kickstart my D&L return with, but I feel that someone out there really needs to hear these words. I’m pointing to you there and with the same hand I have 3 fingers pointing back at me 😉
A lot of us cling onto things from the past, especially past offences. We’ve all heard it countless times and most of us even agree that forgiving is beneficial for everyone. Easier said than done though. The journey of letting go feels like a necessary evil, but it’s all about how we’re looking at the situation. This post by Rick Warren really hits the nail on the head. Whenever I think about forgiveness, I’m always reminded of what John said here. The truth is that if we find ourselves bitter and unhappy, chances are that there’s some un-forgiveness lingering around in our lives.
Other translations of that same passage explain that when we don’t forgive a person, they actually aren’t forgiven at all. That’s a lot of power to be holding on to! Not to mention, it’s a lot of unnecessary baggage for us to be carrying around with us. All. The. Time.
It would be so easy for me to just tell you to forgive and move on, but I know it’s a lot harder than that. For so many years I’ve held onto pain and hurt. I’ve even nourished those things by recalling bad memories and encouraging the hurt to build up (because I felt I was justified to do so). And all the while some of the people who had hurt me had been carrying on with life as normal. There I was sulking in a corner for so many years while these others were continuing on with life – even the joyful moments, just adding salt to my many wounds.
That turned me into one very miserable and harsh person. And then I look at Brad who is the exact opposite of me in so many ways. He reminds me of those yellow raincoats we used to wear as kids. Hurts hurled at him kind of just roll off him like drops of rain. Always giving people the benefit of doubt no matter their intentions, he doesn’t allow these “drops” to penetrate him … and therefore he has nothing to cling onto, no stains to remove. But that doesn’t mean he’s a pushover either.
And I guess we get bitter and angry and we retaliate because we don’t want to be that kind of person that others trample on and take advantage of. Without knowing it, we think to ourselves, “That person now needs to repay that debt and with interest too!” and we throw over a boulder for a stone. There is a better way though. Trust me, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
The other day we were leaving a friend’s place when Brad ran back inside to get something he had forgotten. It was cold outside, I was shivering, and he seemed to be taking forever … I’m also incredibly impatient. With a bunch of others also standing around, I shouted up the stairs, “Brad hurry up! Come on, let’s go!” He finally got through the clutter of people at the base of the stairs that had been blocking his exit and we walked to our streetcar stop. The whole way there we chatted and laughed, carrying on as usual. When we got on the streetcar and took our seats, he leaned over and softly said, “I don’t want us hollering at each other like that.”
He took what was my bad behaviour and turned it into something that we both could work on. I really believe doing it in this way didn’t allow him to focus on the wrongdoing (the sin) and cling to the hurt (un-forgiveness). He removed himself from his own thinking and tried to understand why I might have been acting that way.
That sort of love and forgiveness immediately freed him from the baggage of offence and helped me to see in a kind way how wrong I was. What an epic lesson! Neither of us walked away from that potentially explosive situation feeling weighted and soaking wet. In fact, because of Brad’s maturity and wisdom in how he handled things, we were both encouraged to be better.
So, the moral of this story is that forgiving or not forgiving is always a decision and we have the power in that one decision to either break relationships or to cultivate healthy soil for life to flourish. Let’s start making the decision to say ‘yes’ to allowing things to roll right off us (having necessary conversations where needed though) and ‘no’ to carrying around that heavy, stinky garbage of hurt.
Who likes to walk around permanently soaking wet anyway? You know those times you get rained on and get so soaked that water squishes around in your shoes every time you take a step? Imagine being in that state for a prolonged period of time. Of course, the immediate feeling is misery, but consider the impact that can have on the decisions you make, your relationships with others, and even your health over a period of time. I’d say carrying around a garbage bag full of offences and hurts over your shoulder is no different.
*buttons up raincoat*