Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011

Since I'm not good at keeping them, I'm not usually one to put forth resolutions for the coming year. This year however is different and I am trying hard to better myself by working on the act of forgiveness.

I am neither quick to request forgiveness when I've been wrong, nor am I generous when it comes to forgiving if it's requested of me. Hardest of all is forgiving someone a particularly egregious act that they (may) have no clue they've committed against me or someone I care for and that is something I've been considering for several months now. This work has been a challenge, especially since this problem is only indirectly mine--it really belongs to someone I love. I've felt anger so profound and been so outraged at the injustice of it that it's made me feel sick to my stomach and even visits me in my sleep. Truly, this type of problem eats at the soul like a cancer. With the dawning of understanding that how I feel is not particularly healthy for me, I've embarked on a journey of awareness with the goal of learning to forgive.

I am a work in progress.

During this nasty little family drama (two years in the making), it has come to pass that the person who is at the core of this and has created all of this hurt and pain is now physically suffering in the most horrific of ways. It's the ultimate cosmic comeuppance, and I'm (kind of) ashamed to say that I have actually felt true glee at her misfortune. I'm (sort of) appalled at my feelings, but with wise guidance I have started to forgive my own self for feeling that way. In the words of my friend, Jeanne, "feelings come unbidden. We don't ask to have feelings like this, they just sort of wash over us." I didn't ask to feel that way, I just did. Self awareness is a good start. Ultimately, throughout this two year ordeal, I held my tongue. I was really angry that I didn't have the nerve to say what I really felt toward this woman before misfortune befell her and now, well, I'm in a position where I never will have that opportunity and have to learn to let it go. It's so hard.

This week, Jeanne and I met for lunch to explore this topic of forgiveness a little more closely. She gave me some material about the topic that was (oddly) given to her the first day we spoke of this. It included a quote by the theologian Frederick Buechner, “Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back--in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”

Mmmm. Words to ponder.

And so my friends, for many reasons, it's finally good to say goodbye to 2011. May 2012 be better to our collective world than this year has been and may your own journeys take you to a kinder, gentler and healthier place.

Happy New Year.


sapphireblue said...

Happy New Year.

Stephanie V said...

A worthy resolution! I wish for you a happy and liberated New year. Oh, and some great knitting, too!

laurie said...

forgiveness is very very very very hard. all the best to you in such worthy endeavor.

by the way, i wore your hat AND your thrummed mittens this morning on the 2-hour riley walk. grateful for you all over again.

happy new year!

Silliyak said...

Sorry to go all Oprah on you, but "Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself" And there is something about how forgiveness is giving up the hope that things could have been different. Seems like a national illness, an addiction to righteous indignation. With meditation you might be able to see it rise and watch it eventually fade without attaching to the emotion.
You're a really good person trying the best you can and deserve forgiveness.

Jadekitty said...

Thank you for sharing those words. May 2012 bring glad tidings and growth.

Brenda said...

Oh yes...I know all too well about those feelings of absolute churning ill stomach pains from people that have upset me. No More! Say goodbye and good riddons to them and say hello to a calmer and more peaceful you. Happy New Year Rudee!

NCmountainwoman said...

Better not to make resolutions, or do as Mark Twain suggested: "Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."

Happy New Year!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

sounds like a sack of potatoes to me. you know if every one of your resentments is a potato and you carry it with you and the next one is another potato pretty soon you have a whole sack of potatoes dragging you down the tubes honey. drop the sack and you'll feel so much better! i promise!

thanks for the info on buying the electrical thingy too.

and wishing you the best of new years ever!

smiles, bee

The Bug said...

Happy New Year!

jeannette said...

Wishing you a happy New Year, Rudee! Aren't we all a work in progress (and filing off the edges hurts!)

Sue B said...

Forgiveness is one of the toughest has helped me to think of it as if I had taken a walk in the woods and gotten bitten by a rattlesnake. Hurts terribly, maybe even kills me, but it's just being a snake. And there are people like that. They are just being who they are. But it makes sense to accept that, and to protect oneself against them.

Gail said...

Happy New Year and may all your dreams come true.

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

It is true we do not ask for feelings. But our true character shows when we take those feelings and act to encourage them if good or to set them straight if worrisome. True also, Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. You will do it Rudee I have no doubt. All the best to you and yours.

Knitty said...

That description of anger is so very true. I have a relative that seems impossible to have come from a shared bloodline. Small, medium and a large hurts built up and were capped by a huge one that I could no longer ignore. I spoke my piece and asked for explanations. None came.

Time passed and the spouse of this relative would send notes and cards after initially chastising me about how wrong I was, and that the relative was composing answers to my questions. I would skim the subsequent notes and when they didn't contain answers, I tossed them.

This went on for years. The mention of his name would make me seethe in anger or cry in frustration. I can't tell you why I felt differently one day. It wasn't a sermon or even a Hallmark movie that turned me around. I just knew that he wasn't going to change. He is who he is but he doesn't have to be an active part of my essence. Holding the anger and resentment kept him there.

Letting those feelings go was the best thing I ever did for myself. I can now say the XXX is an (expletive of choice to be inserted here) without any more emotion than saying bananas are yellow.

He hurt me again two years ago and I cried out of anger, but that time at myself, for allowing myself to believe things would be different. Those tears dried quickly when I focused on the good that was happening in my life.

I choose to be a happy and positive person. I choose to believe in people until they give me reason to feel otherwise. Some willfully will not change, others seemingly can't evolve. At the risk of sounding smug, it is their loss.

Forgive this person if for no other reason than to clear them from your essence.

Rositta said...

I have long ago forgiven the three people who hurt me badly in life although none knew that. Thus far two are dead and one is currently in end stage cancer. I feel incredibly sorry and sad about their disease and death but it doesn't bother me either. Wishing you the absolute best for 2012. I know mine will be great...ciao

Sandy said...

I've certainly been there with forgiveness issues but I found out and it became a knowing, that I either had to forgive or I would make myself sick.

anyway, have a wonderful 2012. I'm glad 2011 is behind me...

Denise said...

Forgiveness is hard to do, but it is better for your own well being more than those you forgive.

Hoping we all have a better 2012.

Ruth said...

Forgivness can be so hard - i love jeanne's comment that feelings come unbidden.

Everyone have a happy healthy and peaceful new year and may many more people just simply be kind to others.

Quote I came ascross has no relevenace here but wanted to share.

“The best portion of a man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love”

William Wordsworth

Ruth said...

Forgivness can be so hard - i love jeanne's comment that feelings come unbidden.

Everyone have a happy healthy and peaceful new year and may many more people just simply be kind to others.

Quote I came ascross has no relevenace here but wanted to share.

“The best portion of a man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love”

William Wordsworth