Thursday, May 10, 2012

Get. Over. It.

For several months now, I've been getting nudged.

You know.  That nagging feeling in your spirit when you know you really need to address something, but it's scary or difficult or uncomfortable or just plain inconvenient, so you keep putting it off.

In my case, it has to do with old hurts.  Bruises of the heart, so to speak, and the fact that I've hung onto quite a few for far too long.

It started with a friend request from a person I hadn't thought of in almost a decade.  A person who went to high-school with me.  A person who, at the time, seemed to go out of their way on a daily basis to make my life as miserable as possible.

I physically flinched when I saw the name and picture.

And almost without deciding to do it, I clicked Accept.

God only knows why.

Turns out this person grew up.  Wised up.  Found out that the things that helped them in high-school... popularity, looks, y'all know the type... weren't quite as useful in the adult world without some substance of person to back them up.

Turns out this person grew into a pretty damned nifty adult.

They have a spouse.  And kids.  A beautiful family.  

And I still cringe in my soul every time I see that name on my feed.

Oh, this person isn't the only one.  There are several, in fact, now that I've bothered to notice.  People I was Facebook friends with out of a morbid curiosity, a petty, mean-spirited need to gloat because the skinny ones got fat, the mean ones got hurt, the ones that snarked about my single mother got divorced, etc.  

About this time last year, I cleaned most of those out of my friends list, because it wasn't doing me any good and I never talked to them anyway.

But there are people left from my high-school years.  A couple I love, most that I liked, and some that held the dubious honor of "They didn't pick on me."  A teacher or two who saw what was going on and did nothing to stop it, never mind the reason.  Even a few people I truly detested.  And it's that last category that is the cause of the nudging.  Because while I absolutely loathed the sight of them in 2001, eleven years later, the ones I still keep track of all seem like they might actually be neat people.  People I might call friend in real life if we met now, instead of when we were all ten to fourteen and hormonal and stupid.

And I realized something... I have a little child watching my every move now.  A child to whom I will  soon have to explain the concept of forgiveness.  Of turning the other cheek.  Of choosing your battles wisely.  Of first removing the beam from your own eye before you point out the speck in another's.  Of letting it go.

How am I going to teach that... if I'm still dragging around drama and pain and grudges from eleven to eighteen freaking years ago???  (Yeah, went to the same school from fifth grade on up.)

Short answer:  I can't.

It's not possible, because he will sense it.  He may not understand at first, but he will sense that the words in Mommy's mouth and the feelings in Mommy's heart don't match.



I remember those moments, when I could hear my mother saying "Share!" or "Turn the other cheek!" or "Is it really worth being upset over?" or "Tell your brother you forgive him" ... but her face and voice and body were really saying "I had to do it, and I hated every minute, so why am I making them do the same things?????"

Don't want to be that mom.  Of course teaching my kids to be unselfish, slow to anger, able to manage their feelings, and able to let go of emotional baggage is super important.  But in order to teach them, I have to do it first.

So while I can't promise to let the hurt feelings and childish thinking go overnight, I am making a choice, right now, to start trying.  To consciously put away the memories of hurt, the feelings of vindication and justice served when bad things happen, to be happy for folks' happiness, to feel pain for their sorrows, to just get over it and let us all be adults.

*deep breath*  Here goes...

If you teased me over my glasses, braces, frizzy red hair...

If you stole my book and threw it down the hall between classes...

If you spread rumors about me because you knew I would withdraw instead of speaking up...

I forgive you.

If you pretended to be my friend so you could mock me with the others behind my back...

If you played nice when it came time to assign lab partners because you knew I would get it done...

If you offered me hope so you could laugh when you snatched it away...

I forgive you.

If you stood by and watched while others were cruel...

If you did nothing, because if you had spoken up they would have turned on you...

If you were the teacher who saw and did nothing, no matter why...

I forgive you.

And in return... I'm well aware I was incredibly difficult to be around back then, harder to befriend, harder still to love.  Still am most of the time.  If I ever hurt you in any way, I offer the sincerest regrets I know how to give, and hope that you've already let that hurt go.

Have a happy life, folks.

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