I rarely get angry.
When I do, it takes a lot to have gotten me there.
Once I’m there, it’s hard to get back out. It sits; it stews; it festers. My emotions are powerful and have physical consequences. Anger, sadness, and hurt, when experienced in large doses, make me feel sick in my gut and in my heart. It consumes me in every way, and I don’t know how to make it stop.
Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. At least, according to Yoda.
But if that’s so… what am I afraid of? And I’d like to think that I don’t hate anyone, yet I’m suffering terribly. So how do I make sense of this, O Yoda?
What am I afraid of?
I’m afraid of being hated. Of being alone. Of being rejected. Of being attacked. Of losing the people I love. Of letting God down (again). Of forgetting who I am. Of doing something that I regret.
Ah. There’s the problem.
I am being attacked. When I try to do the right thing by everyone, I’m met with savage or passively aggressive responses from others – I don’t know their reasons, and won’t try to assign any to them. And within each attack, these people I trusted, these people I thought were my friends, they’re rejecting me. They’re rejecting what I think, what I believe to be true, what I live by. Those things are part of me.
And these same people are the ones who are making me hate things that I used to love. Things that I still love. They’re creating an aura of regret in my heart, making me wish that I had jumped ship while I still had the chance. I can’t decide which is worse – the attacks themselves, or the fact that I hate something so deeply a part of who I am because of people who I won’t even remember in ten years.
Our Lord says to forgive over, and over, and over. And then there’s that famous saying “Forgive and forget.” It’s easier said than done, isn’t it? I know I’m guilty of downplaying the difficulty of forgiveness, even though I’ve been through more than most people know and have learned plenty of times just how painful and hard it is to forgive those who hurt you. The truth is, I know that forgiveness is a choice… but I also recognize that it’s a choice that has to be made every second of every day until the wound subsides into a scar that may or may not fade over time. The forgiving can eventually happen, if you choose to let it. But whether or not you forget is out of your control.
Lord, help me to forgive them. They know not what they do.