Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Forgiveness - Part 3

I'm finding this week's post to be most difficult to write, because it draws from responses to last week's that have got me to thinking...

First, I wrote Forgiveness - Part 2 in response to interplay at home (hubby, son and me) that same evening.

Note-to-Self # 1: Give self time between an event and writing, time to process, before writing a blog post (I usually do).

Second, it seems to some (my hubby for one) that I conveyed a belief that all of my son's effervescent displays of affection are self centered or manipulative. However, this isn't what I believe and therefore it wasn't what I intended to convey. Going through the post again, I'm taking a guess at where this notion could have been picked up:

from last week's blog:
"My son is affectionate. It is lovely when he comes to me and says, "I love you Mummy," and spontaneously gives me a hug. But love is not a fuzzy feeling we express when we feel good about ourselves or another person..."

Note-to-Self # 2: Make sure every word needed to convey quite what you mean is included. Instead, I'd like that paragraph now to read: "My son is affectionate. It is lovely when he comes to me and says, "I love you Mummy," and spontaneously gives me a hug. But love is not (only) a fuzzy feeling we express when we feel good about ourselves or another person..." I expect there are other parts to Part 2 that could be amended for clarity's sake, but I'll let it stand because it's a lesson to me to post only once I've had time to process... but now I'm at risk of talking in circles.

A third element that has arisen from last week's post is the idea of forgiving one's children. Is there anything to forgive of a 'blank slate', who is learning and growing (particularly from you!), desperate to please and often making mistakes - not because of lack of desire but rather, a lack of experience or sophistication? In one sense, I think not. Children learn to take responsibility but it is a process. But in another sense I do think it applies. First I'll explain by way of definition:

Note-to-Self # 3: Define words that may have different connotations to different people.

So, what do I mean by forgiveness? For me, forgiveness is accepting the limitations of another person and applying that acceptance to a particular situation.  If I am hurt by another person's conduct, when I choose to forgive them, I do not hold a grudge, become bitter or demand apology, and the fundamental relationship - whatever that was - remains in tact.

Forgiveness doesn't remove consequences for poor behaviour. But whatever consequences may result from a mistake made, that is separate from the relationship itself. Forgiveness also gives me freedom from the negativity that bitterness or unfulfilled expectation brings with it. It doesn't mean I ignore if someone has been deliberately nasty; that is rather an issue of trust and consequence. But it does mean I accept them for who they are. I will have gained wisdom and insight from the experience, and I allow my wounds to heal, not holding them over another person.

So, going back to the initial experience with my son last week, I realize he does sometimes hurt my feelings. Is it ideal that I may sometimes feel hurt by him? Perhaps I'm simply too close to him and so, when he misbehaves toward me, there is some room for him to hurt my feelings. To me, that's probably a bit of a red flag, and I'm practicing detachment because I want to enable my son to grow to be his own person. I am, by far, too much a reactor rather than a responder, and detachment will help me to improve at responding. But I take this notion of hurt feelings as quite separate from forgiveness anyway. If to forgive is to accept limitations, then our children, of all people, require the most.

As I write this post and compose on the topic of forgiveness, I'm aware - as anyone is - that forgiveness is a huge subject. There are so many situations, permutations, that any post will be an over-simplification. In 'the good book', when Peter asks Jesus how many times should he forgive... '7 times?' Jesus replies, '7x7 times', his point being, I think, keep forgiving. So it is in parenting, in marriage, in partnership, in any relationship.

As this post has been chiefly about defining and clarifying, I guess it's also for me to ask forgiveness. I hope you'll forgive me for making a clumsy blunder from time to time, or being ambiguous, or disagreeable. It is not my intention to alarm or offend but to share and to dialogue. I wonder, How do you define Forgiveness?

Cheerio to you 'til next week!

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:

END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.

My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
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