Thursday, October 20, 2011
But I Think It's About Forgiveness...Forgiveness...Even If, Even If You Don't Love Me Anymore
Ah, yes...I've been to church again. It happens--usually on Sundays. And what fun would going to church be if I didn't talk about some of the stuff I learn there on my blog? (This is where you say, "Well not much fun at all, Whitney!...and then this is where I say, "Well good! I'm glad we think alike!"--K, enough of me pretending we're actually talking to one another...)
Most of you know I'm not a bible thumper. I'm all about the churchin', but I'm not going to whoop you over the head with the bible like in a game of "Whack-a -Mole". It's just not my style. Besides, goodness knows I have a fair bit to learn before I go around pretending I know what's up in the "Land of All Things God". However, sometimes when I go to church there is enough good stuff that comes out of the sermon that I feel compelled to pass it on. This past Sunday was no exception.
If you read my other blog post, you might remember that we have been going through a series at church called, "Live Like You Were Dying". If you didn't read my last post (shame on you), the premise of Live Like You Were Dying was to look at your life as if you knew you only had 30 days left to live, and what would you do with the time that you had left. I'm not going to go into detail again about how I'd purchase my plane ticket to Hawaii and peace out on a surfboard. I already went into that during my last blog blip about this subject. And NO...Live Like You Were Dying doesn't mean you should grab a case of Jack Daniels and head to Vegas to be a terminal idiot. It was more about putting into perspective the things in life that really matter. Last week was the final week of this series...and the topic was FORGIVENESS.
This is probably where some of you are going to click the big red X in the corner and feel like you're going to die of boredom if you actually have to finish reading this. However, if you decided to stick with it you might learn a thing or two--like I did.
Forgiveness: the other F word...the one that doesn't sound so trashy. Have you ever taken time to really think hard about the subject? I don't sit there and totally dwell on it, but it does cross my mind from time to time. Mostly when I get fired up about things that usually I have no control over changing. As I sat in church this past Sunday, the topic of forgiveness was brought up and my pastor said something along the lines of, "I know that when I say this word that it's going to bring up some hurt that you've probably experienced..." and this is true.
Have you ever been so ticked off at someone that it makes you sick to your stomach? I have been. Some of you might not find this very surprising--I'm a pretty emotionally charged up individual and sometimes it's for all the right reasons, and sometimes...not so much. When the topic of forgiveness came up I had one particular situation flash through my mind. It's the one area of my life right now that I am completely incapable of performing the "F" word, and I don't know why. If I only had 30 days left to live, I would hope I could figure it out pretty quickly. Here's to hoping I have a few more than that because I still obviously have a lot to learn when it comes to this topic.
I have a friend right now who doesn't think very highly of me. Actually, there's a whole slough of her friends who side with her on this one and who think I'm a complete snothead, but I don't care nearly as much about their peripheral opinions as I do about hers. I actually "lost" her as a friend because I can't "get over" a decision she made. It's super sucky because I adore this girl. You wouldn't know it by the way I've talked to her and about her lately, but sometimes anger and frustration drive you to do things that don't make a whole lot of sense when you're caught up in the moment.
Ever had those moments where you want to take somebody and shake them while simultaneously yelling, "What the hell is the matter with you!" and then finish it off with figuratively smacking them upside the head? No? Guess it's just me then. This is how I felt with respect to my used-to-be-friend. This is what happens when you lack the ability to implement the "F" word.
My friend is smart, and pretty, and freakin' hilarious. She is one of those people that you just get along with right away. She has a great heart. I actually met her through Tristan. She lives up in the small town of Palmer, Alaska. So what's the problem? She recently got married--and it was so impossible for me to be remotely happy for her that I cut off communication completely after she started dating the guy she is now married to. Sounds like a pretty jerky thing to do, eh? Well, believe me, it's been a struggle for me emotionally to deal with. I've had a lot of those wanting to shake her and slap her upside the head moments over the past year--only now it doesn't matter. She is married, and I would never do anything to attempt to destroy that commitment. I just don't know how to deal with it, either.
"So what's the problem with this guy, Whitney?" The problem is my friend fell head-over heels for him--and he was totally mean to her about it. This guy had grown up with her. They had been friends for a long time. When she started to manifest the fact that she liked him to him he actually told her to stop texting him, and to stop coming over to his house. The problem? It's not his house--he lives there with some of her other friends, so to tell her to stay away knowing darn well she was friends with everyone in the house was...well..RUDE. He didn't want to deal with her having a crush on him so he was mean to her. He totally gave her the Heisman Trophy stiff arm. It upset and frustrated me to watch this guy do this to her. It's hard to watch someone mistreat someone you care about.
This guy is actually a roommate of Tristan's. I've had to deal with him on a few different occasions. Some of it has been good. We've taken his Jeep out and gone 4-wheeling. We've watched movies together. He actually kept me from losing my mind as I had to painfully go through Tristan's brother's wedding (most of you know I'd rather die than attend a wedding--it's a little extreme, but true). This guy does have some good qualities. There are also some not-so-good qualities--not the least of which was him treating my friend like crap. She got over it by implementing the "F" word with him. I haven't gotten there yet.
I got a text message this past January. My friend finally told me that she had started dating this guy--this same guy who had been mean to her. I couldn't believe it. Why would you date someone who treated you like crap? It was too hard for me to wrap my head around. She was all about it though. Because I couldn't support her decision I ended up getting fired up and frustrated with her. I definitely had one of those, "I want to shake you and figuratively smack you upside the head so you snap out of it" moments. We ended up exchanging some words--most of which weren't very nice. I felt like it was my duty to point out and remind her of all the reasons she shouldn't be with this guy. I felt like she could do a lot better, and that she was settling for someone who wasn't good enough for her. This didn't go over well with her of course--she'd been head-over-heels for this guy--even when he was treating her poorly. When they started dating it was like a 180 degree turn, and it was a turn I couldn't make.
It was mentally impossible for me to be happy for her. Eventually, we just stopped talking completely. I heard through the grapevine after they had dated for a couple of months that they were engaged. I had nothing nice to say about it, so I said nothing at all. I never contacted her to say congratulations or anything. The wedding happened in September. Shortly thereafter she made and attempt to contact me. I thought, "Well, maybe I can give this another shot. I want to be happy for her...I just don't want to have to deal with the two of them as a couple." It all sounds fine and dandy as it played out in my head, but the fact of the matter is they are now a permanent couple, and there is no befriending her without accepting them as a couple...which I can't do because I still am having problems implementing the "F" word. It's still hard on me, because in my mind I still think she could've done better...and I worry about her. I know that the happy fairytale of marriage wears off and then people's true colors start to show through. It worries me that he'll revert back to being the mean guy he was to her before. I guess I never understood how he could treat her so poorly and then all of the sudden flip on the "I love you, will you marry me" switch.
"So where is all of this going, Whitney? And BTW...did we mention that we don't give a crap about your Soap Opera drama?" I'm keenly aware of that--eventually this is going to get back to the matter at hand--the matter of forgiveness. The "F" word that I am incapable of at the moment with respect to my soap opera drama...
So yes, she contacted me after the wedding. It was fine for a day or two--until I learned that this couple would be moving into Tristan's house for the next year or so. My head pretty much exploded. WHAT...THE...CRAP? It was the stupidest thing I had ever heard of. Not only was I now going to be forced to accept their marriage, but I'd also have it crammed down my throat by them living in my boyfriend's house. Not to mention the fact that I couldn't understand why a newly married couple would still live as roommates with my boyfriend. This problem just escalated and spiraled out of control. I felt cornered. Now I wasn't just pissed off at the two of them--I was ready to give my boyfriend the boot for his complete stupidity as well. Sounds like an all-around good time, eh?
THIS was the drama that popped into my head as my pastor sat up there and taught us about the importance of forgiveness. It's funny...I totally understand the importance of the "F" word. I've been through this all before. I learned how important it is to let go of anger and forgive people years ago. There are two options we all have when it comes to matters of the heart and being hurt--we can either hold onto anger, frustration and hurt, or we can forgive people and "let it go". Let's face it--the only one who suffers when we can't implement the "F" word is YOU...or me in this case. Why do I know this--yet I can't do it? I feel like I'm in the movie, "50 First Dates". I'm very aware that without forgiveness we are literally "imprisoned" by our thoughts and feelings. I don't get why I've been able to forgive people in the past and have experienced the freedom that comes along with that, yet have been incapable of forgiving at other times.
So what do you think, Jesus? Aren't you proud of me? I'm sure he's like, "Uh, Whitney...can you just pretend you don't know me? And please stop talking about me in your blog..." I'm sure He's got a few things to say to me--right after he stops shaking His head and rolling His eyeballs at me.
I can just hear my pocket Dr. Phil in my head yelling at me, "SO HOW'S THAT CHURCH THING WORKIN' FOR YA, WHITNEY?!!!" Well pocket Dr. Phil--somedays it's better than others.
I guess the important thing is not that we arrive at the capability of forgiveness FAST...it's that we're able to arrive there at all. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later for some of us (me). Going through the "Live Like You Were Dying" series has been an amazing, eye-opening experience for me. If I did have only 30 days left to live, I would certainly hope I'd be able to get over stupid crap a lot quicker, that is for sure. I'm sure God would appreciate that and have one less thing to shake His head and roll His eyes at me for. Go ahead and click "PLAY" on the video above--if it doesn't make you think twice about how you live your life then you're not allowed to read my blog anymore. ;)