Forgiveness, Like a Blanket of Snow

It’s really easy to point a finger away from you and blame someone else for…everything.

They’re the reason I’m [insert word/emotion here:] unhappy, angry, sad, late, disconnected, lonely.

Except they’re not.

If I’ve learned anything from practicing yoga – and I don’t practice nearly enough! – it’s that life is a spiritual pursuit, nothing less, and that means we can only control or change ourselves. Every time we point a finger at someone else, there are three pointing back at us.

A hard reality to take, isn’t it? Because I’m perfect and I carry myself with the utmost respect for others. It’s their problem, their fault, their mistake, their attitude that causes unrest, not me.

We all know that’s not true. So the challenge, then, is to look at someone who we perceived to have wronged us and say, truly believe, I forgive you. Even better, I send a blessing your way.

Every religion teaches this. Mine even has one day set aside every year to focus on forgiveness. And in the 10 days leading up to it, we are urged to make amends with other people, with the notion that God can’t forgive us if we can’t forgive others.

It’s really hard to let things go. It’s really hard to not get our panties in a bunch when someone’s being a jerk. It’s really hard to shine love on people who really drive you crazy.

It’s the strongest thing any of us can do.

I am so amused at all the pictures people are posting on Facebook featuring empty shelves at grocery stores because of yesterday’s panic in anticipation of today’s snow. So it’s going to snow. We live in Michigan. The roads will be challenging. We may not have school for another day or two. It’s going to be ungodly cold.

Big deal.

We can handle it. No one did a wrong to us and nothing horrible is really happening. Let’s get some perspective. Last year, my oldest, dearest friend had 40-some inches of snow land on her Connecticut house and she lived to tell the tale.

The dirty little secret is that many of us live in fear of…everything. That’s what the empty shelves represent.

And that’s where the finger-pointing comes from, too.

Fear of being alone. Fear of not being liked. Fear of not knowing our purpose or our path and just spinning our wheels – like in a snowy road. So what if you get stuck in the embankment? We all have cell phones. Call a tow to get you out or leave your car and pick it up later.

So what if you get stuck in the house for a day, or two or three? Can’t you be alone with yourself or your family and cherish the quiet, appreciate the gift of time?

You will survive.

Except we should aim to thrive, not just merely survive.

And the only way we can do that is to let go of expectation, let go of the need to have everyone like us, let go of dreams of perfection and just LIVE.

I’m facing that this month, in fact. We are moving to a new house on the 28th, and so much has to happen in the new house before then. Hopefully it will. But maybe it won’t.

Either way, we’re moving and we’ll deal with whatever still needs to be done. Maybe nothing. Maybe it’ll be perfect and we’ll begin our living happily-ever-after on day one.

Or maybe we’ll have to summon up extra patience until the work is fully finished.

Whatever the case, I can’t control any of it. And getting upset is just silly, a waste of time.

Letting go of dreams of perfection and the illusion of being in control. I have to. It’s the only way to truly live.

One of the things Dan and I are so excited about with this new house is the promise of simplifying. Finally, a house we love, a home. Finally, our place.

Outside our master bedroom is a generous balcony which overlooks our lovely little backyard. We have visions of a cafe table and herbs and tomatoes growing in pots on the balcony. Sitting out there in a quiet morning with cups of steaming coffee, just us, remembering why we’re married, why we love each other, why we came together. Sitting out there in a quiet evening with cups of wine, heart to heart, hand to hand, connected in the way you need to with the person you love.

No more ships passing on the way to get things done and check things off the to-do list. No more running-running-running.

In the new beautiful kitchen, we can’t wait to cook more, to slow down more, to bake more, to make time more to sit together and read the newspaper and listen to the music and let the breeze sail through the windows.

Truly living is a rare achievement in this modern era, but we are dedicated to making it happen in our lives. For the past couple years, we’ve done a lot of running and even the kids are complaining that they just want to be home.

They say home is where the heart is, which I believe is true, if you know your heart and can look yourself in the mirror. If, instead, your days consist of finger-pointing and blame and grumbling about what the next person did, I don’t think you’ll ever make it home.

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