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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A burden lifted

An inevitable part of having relationships with people--friends, family, acquaintances--is that there will be arguments and fights and disagreements and misunderstandings. That is part of life, part of relationships. And it's too easy to be angry. To be negative. To hang on to bad stuff.

I've been talking with my brother a lot in the past two weeks. I'm trying to get him to patch things up with my mom. They've been estranged for years. He took sides in my parents' divorce. And 10 years have gone by. It breaks my mom's heart. It breaks my heart. I think about my two boys and wonder what it would feel like if they didn't want me in their lives anymore, wouldn't speak to me. I would be crushed under the weight of that sadness. She is my mom. My dad is my dad. He is my brother. It's time to move on. To unwind all the damage that has been done. To begin the healing. I hope he will have the courage to take a step towards forgiveness and reconciliation.

I've been exchanging email with a college friend, a college roommate that I had lost touch with. She was hit by a car while riding her bike several years ago and had numerous broken bones. She wrote, "I've realized its poisonous to hold on to bad feelings. I even have forgiven the kid that ran me over...I don't have bad feelings towards him- I hope he's straightened out his life and become a better person...I want to celebrate being alive and be grateful."

These two scenarios have reminded me of something incredibly important. It was as if I'd forgotten so many lessons I learned during Toddler in Chief's hospitalizations. To be thankful, to be grateful for all the things I have in my life. Because I do have so many things to be grateful for and have come too close to losing the things that mean the most to me. Life is so short and precious.

I realized I too had some growing and forgiving to do. I have spent the better part of the past year being angry at my sister-in-law over an argument that nobody won. We were both hurt, both angry, both sad. How did I waste so much energy being angry? It's exhausting and all-consuming. It's stressful and negative and steals sleep. And I'm stitching up the torn relationship.

I want to teach my children to love and to forgive. This means I too need to love and forgive. It is one of the hardest things, but it is so important. And it is so freeing and refreshing.


  1. Anonymous6:29 AM

    Absolutely. It's so nice to hear that mine isn't the only broken family like that. Forgiveness doesn't seem to come easily, and it's across the generations. I have a brother who doesn't speak to me, and my mom has a sister who doesn't speak to her. It's been going on for years. For our immediate family, we rely on the silent treatment until the wound scabs over a bit, and then we go on in denial, keeping everyone at arm's length.

    You're so right about forgiveness. Thank you for the uplifting thoughts this morning.

  2. Anonymous12:49 PM

    Family riffs are the hardest ones to deal with... no matter who they are with.

    But don't beat yourself up. You've had a rough year. We all have. And sometimes you need time to regroup after the downfall. Sounds like you are on your way up!

  3. I couldn't agree more!