I can just see what people will be thinking when they see the title of this post, but it’s not about what many think. This is not about the “F” word or any other vernacular word one might think of…This is about words that changed me from the creature I was in my youth. I was very afraid of forgiving people. Once I was hurt, I tended to turn away never to look back. Don’t get me wrong–I only did it when it was something severe, but it was a coping mechanism I had that made me withdraw from people. I felt that if this is what humanity is about, I’m better off being a loner–and a loner I was. What people do not understand is that it is hell trying to be around people after some of what I’ve experienced–but I make myself do it.
The use of the rough comments got me sent to the counselor’s office for what was merely a mechanism for my protection. Those who followed a crowd and not the beat of their own drum never impressed me. This is why when the cliques tried to “put me in my place” in their social pecking order in school, they usually got a rude awakening–fast. I always loved it when they found out I was making money so they’d try to befriend me so that I would buy them something (and yes in school this happened). When someone is being “too nice” I learned early on in life that it was always with an ulterior motive from my point of view. Even in adult circles there is always that one person who has “friends” on payday but when they are broke, those people don’t have time for him or her.
That same person is also the one these people “borrow money” from and never want to pay back. There are two groups of people who I never lend money to: relatives and co-workers. Sounds harsh? I’ve seen money issues tear more families apart than anything else on the planet. I’ve seen it ruin friendships too. A mom loans her son $1400 to pay his car note off. He promises to pay it back. The job market goes kaput and by now this guy and his wife are having a baby. His hours got cut back to part-time so they move in with MOM. They agree on certain terms and he pays on those terms, but comes in one night and announces he has two plane tickets to Las Vegas and wants to take the mom-to-be there for a weekend. The tickets cost him $1500 on his credit card. He’s only paid Mom $300 of the loan back. He has only paid his part of what they agreed upon on the bills. She doesn’t know about his credit card purchases but she gets highly pissed because he spent money on a credit card that he probably will have trouble paying, has a baby on the way, still owes her money but he’s taking a vacation instead of looking for a full-time position…Hmm…Sound familiar?
The animosity Mom feels most likely will get taken out on the daughter-in-law, too. I’ve seen that happen a LOT! Then they all get mad and stop speaking to each other. Is that bull worth it? NO. Better to GIVE what you CAN afford to NOT receive back as a GIFT and that way one doesn’t sweat bullets over BS to the point that it creates World War 3. It is also better for those doing the borrowing to just be up front and honest about the inability to pay it back. I respect the person who says, “Hey…I don’t know if I’ll be able to pay this back any time soon but…” than one who borrows and then says NOTHING and won’t talk about it. If one only lends a small amount, then he/she is less likely to get upset if someone can’t pay it back. That means there is some hurt but NO animosity.
Now one might be asking is this about “giving”? No. It goes deeper than that. It’s about two key words people don’t usually have a true grasp of the meaning of: LOVE and FORGIVENESS.
First I am going to tell you what I think love does: Love heals, uplifts, unifies, embraces, comforts, brings peace, adds joy, dispels darkness in others’ hearts, encourages, and when put to the test–it bloody well delivers. Take a look at the disaster 10 days after the Tsunami hit Japan…What do we see? We see people remaining calm, helping each other, and already trying to get on a path of rebuilding, comforting and bringing peace the broken hearts of the people.
We see other countries uniting to help in whatever possible way they can to relieve some of the suffering, and as those people from other countries are within those borders with rescue dogs and equipment rescuing people–there is none of this–“Oh you are this or that, you couldn’t possibly understand what I feel–” No! You see them acting as one team, one body, operating in unison and keeping time to a beat that is in line with the hearts of the people there. There is no division now. At first, some people went on a bit of what seems to be “self-promotion” but it passed quickly. Not even Kim Jong Il is acting up now since this happened. We see people who might not have ever met clinging to each other and trying so hard to rebuild their lives. What is their coping mechanism? You guessed it: LOVE!
Love is forgiving . Does it mean you forget? It can, depending upon the circumstances. According to what people read in the bible, God forgets sins when he forgives them, but we are not God. One can forgive, but that certainly doesn’t mean to not be wise. I forgive and let God work out the rest. I certainly do not envy the Great Spirit his job–he can keep it. Love is also for GIVING. When people give their time or a few words of encouragement, there are times that it is worth more than the gold in Fort Knox. Sometimes those words can stir hearts enough that they begin to make changes within themselves and that is where true change starts–within ourselves.
What we do with that which we are given determines if others find their own way out–like tossing a pebble into the ocean. That ripple continues to spread and not return to the giver as a boomerang would. That is how it should be–give and hope that what you impart is shared somewhere down the line so that someone else benefits from it. There is no greater reward than that anyway, in my opinion. My turnabout came when I sought out my heritage due to one person’s blog post–after getting jewelry from her. If you read the post about the Facebook page that turned me around, then you know where my journey began–and it started with watching a TV show on hulu.com (Dark Shadows) by a fluke one night.
Getting around people is not the struggle now that it was for me for years. I realized one thing about people that I had not realized before. Some will work quietly to make a difference in the lives of those who need them so much while others fight on the front lines. It doesn’t matter which route we choose, but as we feel led, it is the road we must travel. I struggled for years with this. It was a classic struggle between my inner self, and what I thought to be true. What I thought to be true was that given my past experiences being hurt, that most people were inherently evil–and I felt that way since I was a child. I learned later in life that by shutting people out–people were still being hurt because there was nobody there to be a voice for those who cannot seem to find it within themselves to fight back. I always felt that something should change–but was too afraid to step out of my comfort zone in order to do that.
I now have no choice because while on this journey to “find myself” I also found a purpose for my life after all and shutting myself up in the house as well as away from the world around me simply is not the answer. All I did in being a recluse was deny myself and allow others to win. When I gained a spark of hope and kicked the last bar off of my cell door–it was then that I realized that there is more to life than what I was seeing and a whole world out there to explore in my way. Love and hope are the fuel that have allowed me to escape the prison I built for my own “protection”. If you know someone who is like this, please have them read this passage. They are not alone any longer. There is life out there–and even if it’s not so “intelligent” it can be fun! Love, hope and forgiveness all work as a unit to help to kick down those walls and bars.