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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Peace and Acceptance

It's upsetting to discover someone close to you is not being truthful. Today I didn't know whether I was upset that they lied or more upset that they kept something from me. I felt that this sudden mendaciousness violated a bond between friends. All throughout the day I ruminated on the resentment I felt and all I was focused on was the bitterness that kept brewing inside of me. If you've ever seen a commercial or a video of a person trying to decide whether to be good or bad and you see a devil and an angel on each of the person's shoulder and they kept score depending on whether the person decides to do good or bad, that was me today. The left side was saying "How dare they? You have every right to be angry." While the loving voice on my right side was saying "Now, now, let's think things over. You're in a quicksand and the more you struggle, the deeper and faster you'll sink." Should I keep an ear on my left shoulder or should I divert my attention to the voice on the right? I knew I needed to sort this out so I phoned a friend. Our conversation went like this:

Me: What do you do when someone lies to you? How do you get past it?
Friend: You accept it.
Me: Just like that? How do you accept it? (My friend will be disappointed to know that I've lost interest in listening further at this point. I needed this friend to sympathize with me and not point out an obvious truth. I politely let this friend proceed.)
Friend: You just accept it. They already lied. It's done. There is nothing you can do about the fact that they lied.
Me: (sigh) But...but...that's not what I want to hear!
Friend: I have someone here that I need to talk to. I'll call you back when I'm done if that's ok.
Me: Of course. Yes, it's ok. (Not really because I was having a pity party and it wouldn't be a party if nobody was pity-partying with me! It looks like the left side just scored a point.) I had to consciously remind myself that my emergency is mine alone. Read more about Patience here.

What my friend didn't know was I already had a plan. I took my pity-party where I know the "attendee" is going to be all ears. This party guest will give me all His attention and there will be no interruptions.

I headed to St. Joseph (1 point for the right side) and there I unleashed my frustrations (sans food and wine). I prayed to God for clarity and to indulge me with an answer but I was also prepared to wait should He choose a different time. I've learned to be persistent in prayer so I added it would be nice if I can get a reply. How do I get to acceptance as my friend so bluntly put it? There are times when he jolts me from my slumber (mental or otherwise spiritual) that I find myself in shock at the impact of his simple, unpretentious words. I sat down in silence for a while and waited for the voice of reason.

I started to analyze the situation, sorted things out in my mind and this time I was able to see things in a different perspective (another point for the right side). Earlier today I was so focused on resentment that I was being irrational. I went over the facts. Can I change those facts? No. Now that I know I can't change it, what do I do about it? I had the option to continue to be miserable or accept it and move on. By recognizing that it happened and after putting things into perspective, I was  already halfway to full acceptance. I say only halfway because acceptance does not necessarily mean forgetting that it happened. It is appropriate to forgive but it is just as appropriate to stay cautious. For me, full acceptance means forgiving and forgetting an offense. Since I've only chosen to accept that it happened and that there is nothing I can do to reverse it, but at same time  didn't have it in me to forget (not just yet), I'm only halfway there, which I am completely comfortable and at peace with.

Anger and resentment no longer weighed me down. I cannot control others' actions but I can control how I react to it. By letting go of something that is beyond my control, even though it took a lot of willpower, I began to feel at peace (the right scored another point for the win). I imagined flicking little luci on my left side and smiled at the thought that my angel's halo shone a little brighter.

--with faith and gratitude,

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