Last week I wrote my Solstice lists, as I do every year. And as I mentioned in that post, one of my lists is things I wish for others, and, as I explained, a key point of that list is that I have to wish good things for people who have hurt me, people I don't really like, people I'd like to smack.
(For the record, I don't actually smack anyone.)
(OK, at all.)
(I'm trying to grow as a human.)
Anyway, it's an important list. Because it's about acceptance - of people who won't change, of situations you can't change. It's about moving forward. It's about forgiveness.
And forgiveness is hard, yo.
At the top of that list every year is my ex-husband. I started putting him there because I didn't want to feel the ugliness I felt toward him. I wanted to release the hurt, the animosity, all the pain. And it was hard because He. Just. Kept. Causing. It. Over and over, he caused more pain, year in and year out. And it was so hard to take because he was hurting our daughter.
Do you know how hard it is to forgive someone who is hurting your child?
It's damned hard. I dare say, it's damn-near impossible.
But here's what I discovered over time (over a lot of time)...
When you're wishing someone well, when you're wishing and hoping for good things to happen to a person, when you state emphatically - and eventually come to believe - that you really and truly want to see that person happy, when you have a desire to see their needs fulfilled, you can approach that person with kindness instead of anger. You can see that person with compassion instead of animosity.
You can forgive.
I think that's called grace. And heaven knows I need grace desperately from others, every day... and I think if I need it, I have to be willing to extend it.
Don't get me wrong, I don't accept or condone the behaviors that have hurt our family. But I don't have anger about them anymore.
It could change next week.
Dude, I'm a work in progress and I still fail regularly. Also on that list? My brother. Yeah. Still not there. Might never get there. On the up-side, I didn't wish for him to fall face-first into a patch of poison ivy.
(Not this Solstice, anyway.)
Again, I'm. A. Work. In. Progress.
So, for now? I'm happy to act gracefully toward my ex. (As long is it doesn't involve walking down my back stairs at 3am, grace is possible. Otherwise, broken arms are possible, [says the one-armed girl]. Ahem.) I had the opportunity to act gracefully today. And I did it. And I will try again, should the opportunity arise tomorrow. And the next day.
And so on.
Grace. It's kind of amazing, yo.