Forgiveness of Trespasses - A Work in Progress
An Emailed Letter To My Sister
I just finished writing an email, expressing my heart to my sister. I'm the oldest of four girls (the two youngest having the same dad but a different biological mom) and my sisters all live in California while I'm here in Washington. Jennifer is the youngest and last to marry. She is planning her wedding for the end of August. My husband Thomas has no desire to go (don't be confused by my reference to "Tom" as my sister Cindy's husband has the same name). I believe partly because of my Christian faith - a close, honest and genuine relationship is lacking between myself and some of my family members, to include my step mom or 'other mother' Diane (she has been in my life since I was six years old and invested 10 years into raising me). Auntie Julie is her best friend. If any of you can identify with what I'm about to include here or have insights to share, I'd love to hear it. Perhaps it will strike a cord in some readers as well. May we all continue to grow - love being an extension.
Hi Cindy -
Regarding Jennifer's wedding and the offer to stay at your place again, I may take you up on that. It would be nice to spend a few days w/ you, Tom and the boys - and of course I still have yet to meet AC! It may just be me though as Thomas has no interest in coming. He says since dad died, everything is changed and he doesn't feel comfortable and there is too much drama surrounding every wedding (although I'm the one who experiences the brunt of it - not him). It should also be a busy time of year w/ real estate and our boys beginning sports so 3 days would probably be the longest I could get away.....haven't decided about whether or not to bring the boys...I'd be getting a pass(es?) from auntie Dotty and having to fly stand by. I had a dream a couple weeks ago that I was there for the wedding and I was getting the cold shoulder. I feel really torn about it. Of course I want to see my sister get married and celebrate one of the most important and joyous events of her life and I'd have regrets if I wasn't there (even though we've probably only had two communication exchanges in the past year). At the same time, I almost feel as though I'm dreading it. Mom (J) and Auntie Julie are the only ones I've shared about Thomas not wanting to go. Auntie Julie said Mom (D) would be crushed if she knew so not sure if it's been shared. She said perhaps Jennifer needs to personally invite Thomas. I shared this w/ Thomas and said there's a chance he could receive a phone call (I doubt it though) and he's going to have to personally accept or decline and explain for himself if he chooses the latter - which for me personally - I hope it DOES happen this way. I believe people need to directly share why they feel the way they do and attempt to understand and resolve things rather than talking about it to those who the issue isn't even with. I know most would be disappointed if it were only me and I'd probably receive the blame since many are not humble enough to look within and own up to being a contributor to these family dynamics. The norm is to attempt to "sweep things under the rug" rather than attempt to make restitution. This takes courage and generally speaking, many don't want to go there since it goes back to doing what's uncomfortable. The right thing to do often involves doing what is uncomfortable however and one should do it regardless (not to say I ALWAYS do so myself). I can not persuade another to do what they don't want however, and in all honesty, I'm really only responsible for myself; my own actions and attitudes - not anyone else's. Mother Teresa's words below I find to be very wise, simply profound and appropriate:
"People are often unreasonable, illogical and self - centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will find false friends and some new enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people will cheat you. Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build anyway. If you find peace and happiness, others may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world your best, and it may never be enough. Give the best you've got anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God."
(Incidentally, I have this printed out and sitting in front of my computer screen at all times).
Anyway, I know relationship problems are never one sided and when I know I've caused pain or offense and it's been expressed and explained to me, even if I hold a different viewpoint or position, I attempt to make things right or restore peace. You know first hand that you and I have a history that can attest to this. I'm cool w/ agreeing not to agree. AlI of us are flawed and imperfect beings yet we are to love, respect and accept one another unconditionally. I long to (desire) to have strong and healthy relationships w/ members of my immediate family rather than feeling like my relationships w/ some are superficial and dysfunctional (and do know when I say this, I'm not including you in that category as I know you to be genuine). I am waiting for that day, always ready to embrace and hopefully, always hopeful. I KNOW there are some hurts I've forgiven even though nobody has ever asked me to forgive them or said they are sorry.... there are other wounds I've asked God to heal me of or deliver me from so I won't become bitter....and I'm uncertain about whether I've really relinquished all.....You know, it's been said, it's one thing to forgive and another to forget. Those things that don't immediately come to mind when you think of someone where there is a history of there being pain and discord, (which I think there is to some degree, a history of that in most relationships) those I think, are the trespasses that have truly been forgiven. Incidences which immediately surface upon thinking about someone - I suppose those may be what still needs to be let go of.
Much love - Chrissy
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