I wasn’t sure what to do today about the next free or near-to-free thing we can give. As the day wore on, though, some interesting things happened to me that shed some light on the subject. Warning: this entry is quasi-religious in tone, but friends and close family I assure you I am as discerning and agnostic as always.
It’s all very domestic, because the first thing that happened was at CVS while I was getting an insanely large package of toilet paper. The second thing happened while I was on my way to Hannford to pick up medicine, chicken broth, saltines and goodness knows how many other Mom-type-things (note: I am not a Mom, I have just always been ‘a Mom’) I would have gotten if I wasn’t trying to get home to my pajamas right quick.
Thing #1. I began walking down an aisle in CVS where someone who I absolutely did not want to see was shopping for something-or-other. Reason? Not important. But important to know that in this situation I was the one who could have brought forth forgiveness, perhaps just not ready yet. I turned on my heels mid-aisle and went the other way, lingering in the back of the store until I knew she had finished her sale.
Thing #2. I had to run a second errand much later in the evening. As I was at a stoplight on the way to Hannaford I spaced at the light and was watching a couple standing on the corner, not really realizing in the dark (with my astigmatism!) that I was staring straight at someone who has done some terrible harm to my nuclear-family-fortress-of-solidarity. The light changed, I accelerated and left them in the snowy night.
The whole thing left me a bit sour by the time I got home for good and plopped the grocery bags, dappled with melted ‘snow’ (it only lasted a few minutes, phew!). It didn’t bother me who I’d seen and what their own trajectory has done to my own, what bothered me was the feeling left inside was a very bitter and obstinate one. Bad!
Sometimes it’s fun to be angry, and it can be hilarious to be dramatic. But at the end of the day, if you don’t give yourself love in your heart and (hey, if you’re feeling generous) a little compassion to others (however terrible they’ve been!) then you’re not giving yourself the gift of feeling good and feeling right.
I broke out a batch of bottlecaps that were waiting for their found and photographed circles and I painted each one with mod podge, inserted the image and sealed them. As the ‘finished’ pile got bigger my mind was calmer and it began to go to a place where I started asking questions about why these people had done what they’d done. And what a stroke of luck that I would skim by them both in the same evening so I could remember how important compassion is in growing as a person.
This month, hell, any month, take some time to think about someone who has wronged you. Maybe they told someone something you had explicitly asked them to keep a secret. Maybe they took advantage of you. Whatever it was, it’s not worth harboring hate inside your own body/mind. So ask the questions, get the bad out, and give yourself the gift of filling the holes with love for something, anything.