(DISCLAIMER: this post was actually written a few years ago and I guess I forgot to hit "Post". It's just been sitting as an unfinished draft. I stumbled upon it and had to share it!)
I have spent the last few years working on my ability to forgive more easily. Sometimes it is a pretty easy thing to forgive someone. (Particularly if they say "sorry"- JT can tell you I am a big fan of that word and I get frustrated when people don't use it.) But sometimes it is really hard for me to forgive someone - especially those who don't say sorry, or worse: they don't even feel sorry for hurting me.
Right now, I have one particular relationship that I am struggling with. I feel like I am at a crossroads. This is one of those relationships where I feel like I am constantly on the forgiving end of it. I know that Christ taught that we should forgive 7 x 70 if we need to- and I feel dangerously close to that number. (Ok, we all know I don't remember how to multiply double digits and so I don't even have a clue how much 7 x 70 actually is- but it sounds like a lot, and if I could find my phone I could use the calculator, but my phone is lost again so for now I will just have to imagine a really big number) So when is it OK to say I have had enough?
In some circumstances I would advise a friend to just forgive the other party and then distance themselves from that person. And in many cases that might work- but not in mine. There is no avoiding this relationship. I can't simply walk away. Trust me, if you have read my blog the past few years, you know I have tried moving away and all of my attempts have been thwarted! So am I doomed to just have to face this over and over? Do I need to keep putting myself out there- just to be disappointed? Do I forgive and try to forget- when I know it will happen again immediately? Or do I hold a grudge? Can I just accept that this is our relationship and get used to it? No. It hurts too deeply to be able to accept it for what it is.
I hate feeling like the victim. I hear others saying things like: you knew what you were getting into when you signed up for this relationship. Or others say that they are happy with the way things are- and some how that means it should be fine for me as well. So I wonder if it is my fault? Maybe I am to blame.
And sometimes I find myself defending the times that are good. Because when things are good with us- they are really really good. But when things are bad- it is unbearable. That is the danger in a relationship like this. Where the other party can be charismatic and charming and delightful. So delightful that I can forget our past issues and begin the healing process. But it always comes back to bite me. It never lasts.
And that is when I ask myself how I keep finding myself in the same situation over and over. Back in the place where I need to forgive.
I wanted your advice on this situation. You know, telling me how you are able to forgive those who hurt you - over and over. Or you could tell me how you are able to cope with things like this. But after talking to some of you - I feel like I may be the only one. It is so isolating.
I wasn't planning on telling you who has been tormenting me all these years, because that would be gossiping... unless you guess it, right?
That's right! That is the rule! If you guess who I am talking about it isn't considered gossip at all!
Uh oh, was I that transparent? It was that obvious? So what do I do? You are right, I just have to address the situation as best I can and go on from there.
Washington. You are killing me. I want to love you, I really do. I was born here- in your green hills and mossy damp woods. (Ok, I was born in a Hospital, but around here you are never more than 5 feet from some kind of moss or slug) I appreciate your green grass and the money you save me on watering it in August. And I am thankful for your mild winters that don't require snow tires or an ice scrapper. (That is probably because I park in the garage and don't leave my house before 9 am. after the frost and ice have melted.) And I especially love the fact that this is the home to my family and friends.
But seriously, your sky sucks. (Was that too harsh? I can't think of a kinder way to say it) I can't handle the gray sky year round. The only thing that got me through the winter and spring was the hope of blue sky in July. But you let me down, again. And here I am in August- the undeniable month of summer (in the northern hemisphere, at least)- and I am under a gray cloud cover wearing shoes (not flip flops like is customary for this season) and trying to forgive you.
The problem is- sometimes you really deliver...
Days of splashing and laughing in the pool. Hours of sunlit fun on a camping trip. And even moments of swinging in our own backyard.
But it is Summer. It shouldn't be moments, hours, or even a few days. It should be weeks. Preferably even two months of Summer!
Is it too much to ask for a small commitment like that? To just honor the seasons as they come? To give us an actual break from the gloom?
The anxiety is too great. When you do grant us some legitimate sunshine I am forced to abandon all structure and plans. After all, we never know when it will come again. I leave the laundry half folded, the dishes dirty in the sink, and the vacuum still running while I hurry the kids out doors. Because, if you are from Washington you know, there is nothing worse than thinking that the sunshine will last while you finish brushing your teeth only to discover that by the time you spit it has all vanished behind the curtain of gloom.
And when I do find myself basking in the sun and eating right off of the BBQ (we do BBQ year round, it just requires that JT wear a rain coat for most of the time) I find it in my heart to forgive you. I find myself agreeing with the Washingtonians who sing your praises. I feel true happiness.
Why?! Washington, Why?! Why must I forgive you, and believe in you, and even trust you? How long must we have this relationship? Can't we agree on something? Can't we agree that summer is from June till August? Ok, fine, I will compromise. Can't we agree that summer is from July till August? Can't I count on you to give me at least that?
This is what I mean. A relationship where I am always forgiving, always compromising, always losing. I can't move. (I tried, and for the next two years we are here- no exceptions) I can't ignore or walk away from the situation. It is everywhere. It is my very environment.
So I will keep improving on my ability to forgive. I will keep praying for strength and humility. I will keep enjoying the hours of sunshine I have with reckless abandonment. And I will start going to a tanning bed in search of Vitamin D.
(Update, August 2015: I guess I gave up on Forgiveness and moved to Nevada!... and now, I kinda miss you, Washington. Damn you, Washington. You are the most confusing relationship I have ever been in!)