I have been presented recently with a spiritual and emotional challenge…actually, as a friend of mine would say, it’s an “AFGO.” (Another *@!%ing Growth Opportunity.)
A person from my past contacted me out of the blue not long ago. Yes, that lovely tool called Facebook was the impetus for the contact. Being raised to be polite, I accepted the friend request with some trepidation. There was a fair amount of curiosity about this person I have not seen in over 20 years, but there was also the age-old pang of wanting so much to be accepted. The fact that she was pursuing contact with me was a small victory.
When we were kids, we went to a small school. Andsby virtue of the fact that we were children, we behaved as such and were fickle with each other. Sometimes we were friends, and sometimes for reasons unbeknown to me, she would become angry with me and suddenly stop talking to me. For WEEKS at a time…I would go completely berserk following her around, begging her to speak to me.
She would smile and continue silently on.
As we grew older, still trapped in the same small school, things got worse. She became better at alienating me, and one day convinced several children on the bus to cheer when I got up to leave. Humiliation and impotent rage do not begin to describe the feeling of a 4th or 5th grader being heckled by an entire bus load of children (Hmmm…been meaning to talk to my therapist about that). That’s right: I don’t have a therapist.
Now, I’m not saying that I was a perfect child or that she didn’t have reason to become irritated with me — often — but some of what I experienced stayed with me deeply. I’m now faced with a choice: do I want to use this time to try to heal or do I want to hang onto old hurts out of spite and resentment?
Those were excruciating days for me and I don’t doubt they contributed heavily to the low self esteem I struggled with for years. However, it’s been over 34 years since the bus incident and well past 25 years since she stole my first high school boyfriend then ceased to speak to me for the remainder of our time in high school. But for some reason, it still stings to think about my relationship with her. I have failed to mention that the girl was, and still is, “smokin’ hot” so I never measured up in the first place.
My choice is clear: forgive as my Lord and Savior forgives me for the heinous things I do to Him on a daily basis in thought, word and deed, or cling pathetically to the hurt I had so competently buried. Human nature says cling to hurt and try to hurt back. AFGO says, “grow up and get over it already.”
Lucky for me, it is Lent. A time for reflection and repentance. I’m likely not going to cling full out to the past, nor let it go entirely. I learned a lot of valuable things from that time in my life and it has made me a better friend, a better mother and better able to give counsel when needed. I think I’ll sit with this for a while and see how I am led.