For those who know me intimately know my life has sort of played out like some sort of Greek tragedy. I’ll never forget the time a stranger walked up to me and said that I had a black cloud following me. He said things that work for other people would never work for me. The conversation was exactly that. Nothing before and nothing after. Frankly, it scared the sh** out of me. Then it made me feel like it was true.
Then this morning my daughter and I were talking and out of the blue she said to me. “I feel like there is just this one piece you have to unlock. And as soon as you do, everything will get better.”
The crazy thing is, I feel exactly the same way. I’ve prayed for God just to reveal to me my shortcomings and then guide me in how to fix it. I’ve tried to do everything I know how to do, to do it right. I’ve tried to give back and be good to others. I’ve tried to take responsibility for my life. Try, try, try, try, try.
I’ve had friends leave me in the past couple years that have broken my heart into a million tiny pieces. I felt like I was the one standing on the train platform in an old black and white movie crying out for them not to leave me. The hardest lesson for me has been letting the train go away, off into the distance, and letting it. You can’t make people stay that don’t want to. The problem has been, that’s been the sum of my life. And as with all things, the harder you attempt to hold on to it, the more it wants to go away. More try.
The other big lesson was figuring out it wasn’t necessarily about me although that was always my default. Assuming if I had somehow just been…more…then they wouldn’t leave. All of that has led up to something. Something new I’ve just figured out. Up until now all I wanted was to extract any memory or thought of those people to be stripped from my mind. I wanted the whole thing gone. Good and bad memories because I figured that was the only way to rid myself of all the pain of the loss. Or even just the pain of the bad.
I started watching a movie Friday, I’ve wanted to see forever but never did. It’s called Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It has a stellar cast but the two main characters are played by Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey. After a volatile relationship they decide to have their memories erased of one another. Except, half way through Jim Carrey’s character Joel’s memory erasing he realizes, he wants to keep his memories of his Clementine.
The good, the bad and the ugly.
I feel like the last three months I am exactly where I am because something big is about to happen in my life. I don’t know what. I hope it’s not just wishful thinking on my part. But I’ve done a ton of soul searching. A lot of crying. A lot of crying out to God. And just yesterday after crying out to my dear friend, the last piece of the puzzle, the thing holding me back and weighing me down was handed to me.
I’ve had evil in my life. I mean pure total unadulterated evil. And because of that and my experience I thought I had a pass. I had a pass to never having to forgive. When you’ve had that much wrong done to you it seems like God would issue you that pass and say you know what? You are right. They don’t deserve forgiveness. Sometimes I don’t even think they deserve oxygen.
Let me tell you, I’m good at hanging on to wrongs. I’ll never forget when I was only 19 and this guy I was dating went with me to my most treasured spot, my grandparents house. We rode horses all over the farm which was always perfect enough for me. But he wanted to go further into another pasture so we could ride by some caves on the property adjacent to ours. The problem was the barbed wire fence between the two. He found a sagging piece of fence and stood on it repeatedly attempting to talk me into riding over it. If you’ve ever been around horses you know they can spook so easily. Even with as big as they are, most are big chickens. As I began riding my horse, that my grandfather had given to me for my 16th birthday, over the spot in the fence, she freaked out. It sliced her foot to bits including the ligaments in the back. It was awful. He blew it off and rode off on his horse and I walked my horse all the way back to the farm house. My heart breaking the whole time. Why had I listened to him? Why had I let myself be led where I didn’t want to be led? And all these years later if I ever saw this guy I still plan on laying him out flat with a nice punch somewhere creative. I’m as angry today as I was that day. Or I was.
Today…I let it all go. And not just that. I let it ALL go. I think I’ve been dragging a lot of luggage around that has weighed me down for so long. I want nothing more than to fly. I want the last half of my life to be as full of joy as my first half was full of tragedy. I want to break those habits and thoughts passed on to me that keeps me down to finally be challenged.
I went through my whole life forgiving every single wrong done to me. I reminded myself it doesn’t mean I approve of them. It doesn’t mean I approve of their actions. I don’t condone it. I’ll likely never forget it. But I don’t have to let it hurt me anymore. I’ve spent my life handing my power over to these people who constantly labeled me “not good enough.” The part I missed is that by not offering my forgiveness I was allowing me to label myself the exact same way. I was allowing myself to be led over the barbed wire fence because I was the one hanging on. Not those people any longer.
For those I loved and went away, I realized today, the pain was worth it. It meant I’ve lived first of all. It meant I got to love if only for a short amount of time. It also means I’m keeping the good and I’m letting the bad drift off somewhere in the wind. It’s not mine to hang on to and I can’t fix it or repair it by hanging on.
Another one of my all-time favorite movies is Love in the Afternoon with Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper. Gary Cooper is a typical player and Hepburn is not. But she pretends to be in order to make Cooper jealous. The problem is she falls in love with him. Eventually the adorable Maurice Chevalier, who plays Hepburn’s father, and is hired by Cooper as a private investigator to find out who she is, reveals to Cooper it’s his daughter and she is in love with him and he needs to go away so he doesn’t hurt her.
Cooper agrees. And in the last scene of the movie, he is on the train as it is pulling away and she begins running along side of the train. You see the end of the platform coming as she is crying but lying to him that she’ll be fine. Just before the end of the platform comes, he realizes he loves her too and reaches down and he scoops her up on the train with him.
After my forgiveness rant today, I figured out the biggest person I needed to forgive was myself. Wow, is that hard. And somehow, almost supernaturally, I felt like I was scooped up on the train and all my bags were left laying on the platform. I think the biggest lesson here was to stop trying to play God. I’m trusting him to hand over the judgement to him. Instead of trying to make all things right all by myself. I’m forgiven. That’s what matters to me. The rest, and all those people, are in his hands, not mine.
I think I finally feel free and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
“Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a f***ed-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours.” ~ Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind