12.22.2015

Mondays, Bad Guys, and This Business of Forgiveness

I had a nice blog for you today. It was very inspiring and full of Christmas cheer. It was ready to get you all in the holiday spirit.

Then, Monday happened....

Has Monday ever happened to you? Not the day, but the incident. It's like getting bad news over the phone. It's a bill in the mail. Or, as in our case, it was the dashed hope that a longstanding issue would finally get resolved.

Ug. I already mentioned about our "Summer of Discontent" and how it altered our lives. Most of it, we just had to deal with, but another part turned into an ongoing battle. It was stressful, and just when we thought the end was near... Like I said, Monday. Now, all those feelings from the summer waved back over me. I expressed a similar sentiment that I said before.

"It feels like the bad guys are winning."

We all have those moments where it seems like we did the right thing, someone else did the wrong thing, but we end up getting screwed. Doing good and not seeing the reward sucks by itself, but adding an antagonist to the mix who appears to "get away with it" makes the matter infuriating. Where's the fairness? Where's the justice? Where's a super hero to come save the day?

Back to that blog. I didn't publish it, because I instantly felt like a hypocrite. Here I am, telling you to find joy in the Christmas season, yet, at the same time, I'm stockpiling bitterness. It was time to pause. So, rather than absent-mindedly peddle inspiration, I did a little work on me first. Maybe a few of these thoughts could help you too.

First, in the face of Monday, I got moving. I was already serious about getting back in marathon shape, but this workout session had some fire to it. Indignation is quite an energy boost, in case you didn't know. I was stronger than ever. And then, wouldn't you know it, that energy burned off like a rocket, and I was left with some of those bad feelings broken off in the atmosphere.

Second, I talked it out. As soon as I got the news, I texted, emailed, Whats App messaged, and Snapchatted everyone who knew our situation. You know, sympathy can never be overrated. Some times you just need someone with whom you can commiserate. A simple, "Man, that's rough. I'm sorry" can go a long way. It always does for me.

Third, there are no bad guys and good guys. It seems that way, but human beings are far more complicated than that. The person I vilify is somebody's best friend. Someone I consider a saint is probably a holy terror to anyone else. Perspective changes everything. Not to mention that we battle people in seasons. Maybe this season they are desperate and crazy. Perhaps if we'd met at different times in our lives, none of this would have happened. Who knows? All I know is that I alleviate a lot of pressure when I stop with the binary fairy tale roles and see people as they are: flawed and human, just like me.

Lastly, there's this business of forgiveness. Doesn't it always come down to that? We don't get the privilege of living happy, well-adjuststed lives and holding on to grudges at the same time. It just doesn't work like that. At a certain point, we have to forgive those who wrong us. Forgiveness can look like a lot of different things, but it almost always includes letting go of the way we want things to be. It's not easy, but it's necessary.

But what about fairness and justice, you ask... First of all, there's no such thing as fairness. Let's get that off the table. It's completely subjective. Secondly, justice works independently of us all. Some call it karma. Others call it universal law. I quote Galatians 6:7. If you sow it, you reap it. So, believing that we are somehow responsible for someone else's comeuppance is foolish. It's not our job.

As I write this, Monday draws to a close. I'm still not particularly happy with today, but I'm probably better for it. I was provided with another opportunity to resist becoming embittered towards things and people that I can't control.

So, what about you? What was your Monday like? Better yet, who's the bad guy in your story? Let me encourage you to find your own path towards forgiveness. Whatever it looks like, go after it. It won't be comfortable, but it's better than feeling despair and it's certainly a lighter load to carry.

~jennifer.

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