Last Christmas, when we did our white elephant gift exchange, this book was going to be my funny gift. This idea didn’t last long enough to become the gift I had planned on. Instead, I tucked it away a bit ashamed of myself. Don't get me wrong, there are times I still giggle at the thought of photoshopping my mothers face on the front cover. But not nearly as often.
Christmas Eve arrived and after our gift exchange, I mentioned the book I had intended to give which was now in the bookcase. After hours of games, laughing and lots of food I looked up from clearing the kitchen counters and saw my brother-in-law reading the book. He wasn’t laughing. He was genuinely interested. Then not long after Christmas, my sister ask me if I still had this book, and could they borrow it. I said “sure” and the next day I decided to actually sit down see what was so interesting about this book.
The book never made it to my brother in law. I am now about 50 pages into this story and I am enjoying it. This woman’s story is not quite like my story, but I can definitely relate to what she went through. I didn’t expect to read this book, much less learn from it.
I saw a funny title and a perfect heading to describe how I have been feeling lately. Ask anyone who really knows me and they will tell you I deal with heartache by finding something to laugh about. But this time the unthinkable happen! I found comfort and healing and (wait for it)...........Could it be compassion? Compassion for a person that, in my eyes, did not deserve it? How is it possible to turn absolute disgust into a positive emotion? I don’t have the answer. But I do know this:
I know I cannot become the person I want to be feeling this angry and hurt towards others. It just won’t happen. So my simple goal is to somehow change my disgust, hurt and resentment into some sort of compassion. Honestly, this may take a long time. If I imagine my life as a trip around the world, then my last destination was the town of Anger. I made connections in Hurt, Despair and Self Pity before arriving in Anger. While traveling, I lost a few items that were dear to me.
I am now in route to a better place. It’s a long trip, but I believe it will be worth it. For now, I am vacationing in Acceptance & Forgiveness. I visit my previous destinations sometimes in my mind. I’ve been told that when I no longer pull out the “visitor’s guides” to places like Hurt or Anger and think back on what I have lost, I will get clearance to move on to my next destination. Then I will take it from there. Baby steps.
Yesterday I read a talk by James E. Faust which said:
“Forgiveness is a source of power. But it does not relieve us of consequences.”
When tragedy strikes, we should not respond by seeking personal revenge but rather let justice take its course and then let go. It is not easy to let go and empty our hearts of festering resentment. The Savior has offered to all of us a precious peace through His Atonement, but this can come only as we are willing to cast out negative feelings of anger, spite, or revenge. For all of us who forgive “those who trespass against us,” even those who have committed serious crimes, the Atonement brings a measure of peace and comfort. Let us remember that we need to forgive to be forgiven.
You know, God really does work in mysterious ways. There I was back in December, actually buying a book for the sole purpose of mocking someone who had hurt me. Thankfully, I didn’t start feeling guilty until after I bought it and had it home. It was just sitting there on the shelf…waiting. Waiting for the time when it would be used, not for the reason I had intended, but in a way that would soften my heart a bit and replace a bit of pain with a bit of forgiveness.
I can think of so many times when something or someone has come into my life for one reason, but stayed in my life & my heart for another reason altogether. I am if nothing else, a work in progress! My attempt at finding the perfect “white elephant” gift failed. My attempt at making a joke out of someone I felt hurt by also failed. But that’s okay because this one time I am happy to say the joke was on me, and I am grateful. Maybe I am one step closer to packing my bags and traveling again.