When someone hurts us or even worse, hurts our children, the anger can run deep. Legitimately deep.
One of the knotted strings in the tangled ball of bullying is how our anger can eat us up. It takes up our brain space and holds us back from anything positive. The reality is, it's like being the target twice. When you can't let it go, the resentment can have a negative life all its own.
Superstorm Sandy didn't bring many positives but it did bring me a new friend. Maryann and her husband Ray are still trying to cope with rebuilding not only their home but their daughter's and Ray's brother's homes, as well. In the midst of it all, they keep the local church (also damaged) going so that the community doesn't lose it's foundation, its rock.
Ironically, after many good discussions about tough transitions, Maryann saw that I needed as much help in coping with change as she did...and I still had my house.
She lent me T.D. Jakes book, Let It Go, and I stumbled upon some truly great advice. I hope it helps you as much as it did me...
Similarly, when you allow someone else's reaction to determine your mood, you have built a room where you are helpless to control the climate. When you forgive them and move on you bring the thermostat back into your room and you leave them in the hands of the conscience and their God!
Of course you want to respond with grace to the repentant but the question begs an answer: What do you do when the persons who caused you the most pain have not and will not admit, acknowledge, or repent for their part in your pain? Simple answer, take the power back over your life and write it off. Demanding that they make things right or have the quality of character to apologize also leaves them controlling the thermostat to a room you have to live in.
Mean people don't often apologize. Ever. That's why I think this is great advice for ourselves and a good lesson for our kids. Sometimes people -- even if they've had a mean moment -- will say I'm sorry. That's wonderful but others won't. To expect that they will do the right thing will just fuel our rage even more and make the pain continue.
Something to ponder this hot summer: Who's in charge of your thermostat?
It made me realize that some damage is more obvious than others and every house needs a "thermostat check" every now and then.
Maryann and Ray: We're sending you good thoughts as you rebuild.