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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grudges, Dresses, and Other Things That Don't Go Together

or,  A Letter to Amy.  

Come in. Sit down.  Have some coffee. 

      It has been a long time since I have done that.  Since I have pretended that we are pals and you are here for a chat and a warm cup of joe or a smoothie, whichever you prefer.  I kind of like it. 

     That's right, get comfy.  Get comfy because I am about to tell you a story.  It started as an email and then got too "post-ish" so it is ending as an entry by yours truly.  I hope you don't mind.  

     This is scary for me.  This is scary for me because I sometimes try to be a tad bit vague here (hard to believe, right?) and tonight I realize if you are clever enough and up-to-date-on-my-life-enough, you can find the bread crumbs.  You can trace the edges on the map of my life and use the ever-so-subtle details to figure out the exact name of the person and the situation I am referring to.  (sometimes I like ending my sentences in prepositions, cause I'm rebellious like that. I have also heard this is a common habit of people from Ohio.  Well then color me Scarlet. Color me Gray. Go Bucks).  

     However, this is the truth the way I see it.  It is my truth, and I think that probably all truth is God's truth.  So, here it is.  

I am having a hard time forgiving.  

I always thought that people who were "unforgiving"  looked like this: 

and I don't look like that. I look like this. 

       I like dogs and coffee and the color of a lemon when you cut it open and I work with tiny kids who sometimes say "th" instead of "s." Adorable.    

     I think that is such a work of the devil...trying to make us believe that we don't do All The Things Other People Do because we are different.  We are nice.  We like kittens.  We let old ladies check out in front of us at the grocery store.  

     Kind of like how some kids think that "strangers" look like old men with black capes and handlebar mustaches. 

When technically, the nice cashier at the supermarket is really a "stranger."  

But alas...sometimes we just let these things happen.   

And then we get really off topic.   

     Last week, I was having dinner with some friends and I heard a name come up out of nowhere and my stomach did this very strange roller-coaster-type-thing and then I wanted to throw up.  I wanted to throw up because years and years ago, the aforementioned person was not very nice to me.  Looking back, I now realize it was just a series of dumb choices on this person's part (and a few on my own).  The stab(bing) was not intentional, but I felt it nonetheless.  

      So there is an upcoming event.  And this other-human-being will be there.  And, after nearly 4 years (give or take), we will be breathing the same room's oxygen.  

Oh, geez.   

     And I decide, right then and there, that I am buying a new dress.  I am buying a new dress even if it costs me a gazillion dollars.  And while wearing said dress, I will pout and be grumpy and ignore this human being unless I am shooting "I am so much better than you" glances in his (or her) general direction.  So there.  Take that. 

     Did I mention that I am not an unforgiving person? I mean, you saw the pictures, right?  Did I mention that I love Jesus and hot pink ballet flats and the fact that A Baby Story makes me cry?  So, we're good, right?  I'm still "nice."  I'm still "Jesus-y."  



     I go home and I vent loudly to Amy via email (cause you can be loud in an email, true?)  I say that I wish I was one of those "cool girls" who can say, "I have a great life, I'm over it.  I'm past it."  

     But, I'm not.  I am grumpy.  I feel yicky.  I have rehashed things I haven't thought of in years.  I have climbed out of this place of forgiveness and peace and taken up residence in the land of "People who need to stop complaining and get over it."    

And I remember a quote I read from Mother Teresa, "  

  People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
 If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.
*I encourage you to read the full version here.

And it rolls around in my head all day.  

And then I go to church, and I hear not one, but TWO lessons on forgiveness.  

God is an excellent teacher:

 Introduce/pretest/instruct/assess/intervene/reassess/hit you over the head if all else fails.  

     So, I sit on that for a few days.  And I start to compose an email and think about how, as Clarice Bean would say, my mind is a blanket.  

     I am the soil in April.  I need to let things seep in when it starts to rain.  I need to let things seep instead of always  

     And I think about how I wanted, so badly, to react like one of the "cool girls." But then I realize that being cool has nothing to do with it.  These girls have finally managed to forgive.  They have done what I have yet to do.  They have made the choice.  Because that's what it is, you know?  Forgiveness.  It is a choice.  


     So I will go to this event and I will start making wiser choices instead of tricking myself into thinking that TIME will eventually throw me into forgiveness like a tiny, well-placed slingshot. I will do a lot of polite smiling and perhaps just a little bit of "grinning and baring it."  Tim and I will eat entirely too much cake, and he will dance in a way that makes me laugh (and blush).   I will kiss his cheeks and maybe he will dip me if I play my cards right.  Then we will go home and cuddle with the dogs.  And it will be just fine.  

It will be fine because in the final analysis,  it was never between me and this person, anyway. 

Love and no more grudges, 

*I don't want to be a jerk.  I didn't cite the cartoons.  This bothers me a bit b/c technically, it IS artwork.  If you find a source or REALLY want me to cite one, say "pretty please with a cherry on top," and consider it done.  ;)  


meg fee said...

lovely. i love the idea that it was never between you and them anyway.

i say forgive, forgive of course--but get that dress and look fabulous nonetheless. the two things are not mutually exclusive.

carmen @ life blessons said...

Oh, Holly. I have an inkling about those breadcrumbs. We need a phone catch-up/ketchup soon.

P.S. I love all your little cartoon characters. They make me smile!

Kate said...

I loved this post. It was very timely for me, I'm in almost the same situation, and was just wondering where I'll get the money for a new outfit, so that I can look better than HER, even if it darn well kills me!!!!! :-)

But I'm glad you reminded me. It's between me and GOD, not me and her...