I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions, but I started 2012 not wanting a repeat of 2011. Last year, I lost someone who was an important part of my life for over twenty years: my grey-cheeked parakeet, Sam, who was like my second child. I've experienced loss many times in my life, and it never gets easier.
Years ago, I had two friends, both authors, who were so close the words "joined at the hip" usually followed their names in conversation. When they set up meetings with agents at a writers conference, those of us closest to them were sure they'd end up with the same agent. They didn't--but they did decide to collaborate on a novel.
Long story short, the novel was never finished. There was a dispute between the two, and they never spoke to each other again. A few years later, one of them passed away. I haven't seen the other since. I often wonder if she has any regrets. I would.
My pastor says we have to forgive but we don't have to forget. I've had a lot of trouble with both. In the past year, I've severed many ties. I've terminated friendships for a variety of reasons and had conflicts with people I barely knew and a few I wish I'd never met. And I've found myself dwelling on that anger. That's a waste of time and energy.
It's not easy (though not impossible) to teach an old dog new tricks. This old dog is trying to learn. As Thomas Wolfe wrote, "You can't go home again." Even forgiving someone doesn't mean we can restore the relationship. Relationships that have been broken can't always be repaired.
No matter how much I try to forgive, in some cases it's just not going to happen. I wish I could say I'm a good Christian who gets everything right, but I'm not. I'm a work in progress. I have a long way to go. And it's really hard to forgive someone who doesn't think they've done anything wrong to be forgiven for.
Pastor John also said in one sermon that we should respond to the mistreatment of another as if it were being done to us. That comes easy to me. I can't be a friend to someone who mistreats people or animals. Nor can I be silent about it. I recently found myself in this position. Someone I thought was a friend had been very close to someone else who is dear to me. Abruptly, everything changed. The so-called friend found herself another friend and discarded my surrogate family member. Talk about a Jekyll and Hyde transformation! She became a vile, hateful creature, and I found myself wondering how I could ever have called her a friend.
Can I let go of the anger I feel toward this person? I'm trying, but it's not easy. No wonder her husband prefers internet porn to her. It's got to be a whole lot warmer than cuddling up with that viper....