Note: My message is for all in hopes that there might be something you can learn. The posts are written to my children so some of the words at time may be a bit confusing. This all started because I wanted them to understand who therefore Dad is / was. What made me the way I am and how I evolved as a person.
This post has nothing to do with whether or not you believe that there is or is not a God. That is a choice I believe every person is entitled to make their own mind up on that question. I am not pretending to be an authority that can help guide you down that path.
However, if you have been going chronologically through my posts, I have gone through a bit of an evolution over the past six months. I have gone from a person that goes to church to someone who feels part of a family / community that makes up a church. There is something about being told I was close to dying that caused some of this and although I wish it had not have gone that far, a large part of me will always be thankful I did come close to my end.
100% of me is thankful for everything in my life these days. Having my life is a pretty big deal.
I would say the biggest evolution is that while I still have feelings of anger, resentment, discontent and other negative thoughts; I know now that they are not worth holding on to and try to part with them as quickly as I am able. There just doesn’t seem to be as much time as there used to be for that.
Last year, after we got our family pictures done, I was first awestruck by the fact we were able to get the family together for them. It seems so difficult to do with everyone being so busy. I really don’t know how families, more than just ours, can allow themselves to get to the point where they are too busy for one another. I don’t think our immediate family even makes it happen once a year anymore.
When we actually got the photos, the first thing I did was go through each one to find all the pictures of you. Every one of those immediately got marked as a favorite. Every one of those made my heart so happy. Each of you with your cousins, aunts, uncles, nanas and papas; and in every one smiles.
The next thing I did was then to try to figure out which picture of the two of you with you mom and I to print to have in the house, use for our holiday cards and essentially represent us for at least the next year. As I did this, I noticed something else altogether.
What I noticed is that I couldn’t find one where I was really smiling. I couldn’t understand it. I thought I was in a good mood that day. I thought I was smiling in every picture. Some people might look at some of them and say I was smiling. However, from my perspective I looked angry, in almost every one.
I asked your mom what she thought and her response set me back a bit. She essentially said, “You don’t really smile anymore, there’s always something you’re angry about.”
It was at this very moment, I remembered a sermon from church. And this was before getting sick. The sermon was about forgiveness. The overarching message, was that people can not be truly happy until they are able to forgive others. Holding on to negative feelings is what keeps a lot of us from being happy.
As with much of what I do, I jumped in head first to solve what I perceived to be a problem. Several therapy sessions, a bacterial blood infection and hours of reflection later I still have work to do. However, I know I became happier when I recognized the problem and I become happier each time I forgive.
But I still caution to never follow a line of thinking to forgive and forget. In fact, I would argue that it is most important to forgive and remember. Remember that forgiveness is not about your feelings that are released towards others, but more about the feelings that take away from you and who you are and who you want to be. After all who doesn’t want to be happy.
If you truly believe in one thing, believe in being happy.
If you truly believe in being happy, believe in the power that forgiveness is towards being happy.
I am definitely a believer.