We’ve been talking about forgiving. We started the step on Sunday and I gotta tell you, there were parts of it that laid me out. Totally filleted me. Because, I get that it’s a stumbling block for me. In so many ways.
It talks about what our [meaning anyone who is addicted, obsessive, compulsive, out of control in any/many ways — and who isn’t?] lives are like before we begin a path of recovery. It’s like a tornado full of destructive energy that cuts through our relationships, leaving a whole lot of wreckage behind.
It encourages us to make a list of people we have hurt. People we hurt by being irresponsible, irritable, critical, impatient and dishonorable. We are encouraged to remember anything large or small that added to another person’s burdens or that saddened or challenged someone. We are encouraged to look for lies we told or promises we broke and ways we manipulated or used others.
I don’t have that much legal-size paper. I could write all day long and into the night and not be able to get to the bottom of that list!
In preparation for making amends, it says, many have found it helpful to think of someone who you have had hard feelings for. For two weeks deliberately kneel and pray for him or her each day. And keep a record of changes in your thoughts and feelings about that person.
I thought of someone, alrighty. I thought of someone that I have hardly been able to speak to for years. I have resented him for a lifetime for what he did to me and my cousin, Kathy. I have resented that his life turned out pretty darn good, and ours turned out pretty crappy. And it’s been plenty hard to even think of praying for him. [I’m pretty sure I am supposed to be praying for my hard old heart to be softened toward him, too]
I can see it’s been tangling me up for a couple of generations or so.
Someone in the class said, “When we don’t forgive someone they are running our lives.” I accidentally misspelled ‘running’ and it came out ‘ruining.’ so I left both words, which describe it perfectly.
Someone else said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping that someone else will die!”
Stay with me now. I’m getting very close to the whole point of this post . . . .
I recognized something. Last night I realized I had thought about this process all week. I thought about our big Rollins Reunion and how on Sunday one of the aunts stands up during our testimony meeting and rehearses all the terrible things in her life. She tells [again] how she didn’t have any fun when she grew up. She talks about the fact that my mother and other aunt always made this sister walk behind them. They didn’t want to play with her. She talks about when she took care of Grandpa for so many years and then when he died, she didn’t get her fair share of the inheritance. Everyone wanted an equal share even though she was the one who did most of the work. She talks about her children and their damaged lives. She talks about failed marriages. And everyone just kind of squirms at all of her misery. But we squirm, too, because we just want to say, “Yes, you have hurt. But that was a whole lifetime ago. Get on with life. Enjoy today! Look at all the things that are right in your life today.”
And, I realized somewhere during the week, Holy Cow! I’m like that! I keep my misery right up in the foreground.
Then, I thought of Mikelle. When she was in middle school she would come home after practice and tell me about how hard she worked. She would huff and puff and breathe laboriously like she was going through the hard practice right then, even though it was, in reality, an hour earlier. She would talk/breathe with so much effort, as though she had just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.
And, I realized somewhere during the week, Holy Cow! I’m like that! I talk as though I’m still living that crappy life. I re-live all the pain and sorrow and hurt like it was just happening to me right now.
And then we got to this paragraph. It caught my attention. [Gee, ya think?]
Finally, after you have listed everyone you have harmed, add one more name to the list — your own. When you indulged in your addictions, obsessions and compulsions you harmed yourself as well as others.
“This step helps you take the actions that enable the Savior to set you free from your past.”
I gotta say, I would love that!!!! No more living in the past? No more having my past control my every thought. Being able to say, I am not my past.
Sometimes it’s like turning on a light switch. Everything lights up and becomes clear very quickly. Sometimes it’s like a sunrise. Sometimes things become clear very slowly over a period of time.
I read this:
Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
Jesus taught that to fail to forgive others is a greater sin than the original trespass or offense. Refusing to forgive myself or someone else is the equivalent of denying the Savior’s Atonement for sin.
I wrote this in my margin: He forgave when He was on the cross! The worse thing in his life was happening to Him and He said, “Father, forgive them.”
Kind of puts things into perspective.
Gee, I’m trying to find a funny way to end this. But I can’t seem to come up with a clever quip or a relevant punch line.
Oh, wait. I think I can come up with something for you. I feel pretty obliged to make this entertaining.
A beautiful brunette went into the doctor’s office and said that everywhere she touched it hurt like crazy. He said, that’s impossible. Show me. She touched her shoulder and cried out in pain. Then touched her knee and cried out in pain. Then she touched her elbow and, again, cried out in pain. He said, you’re not really a brunette, are you! She said no. I’m really blond. He said. You have a broken finger.