August 29, 2013

Everyone is Your Teacher. ~ Timber Hawkeye

My parents disowned me when I was 18 because they didn’t approve of who I involuntarily fell in love with.

I remember trembling from the obscenities flying across the room when they finally yelled, “You’re dead to us!”

And for three years, I was.

It was actually okay to not have them in my life for awhile, but I was not okay with “I hate you” being the last words I would potentially ever say to my father.

So I showed up at his workplace unannounced after all those years, and he dropped everything he was doing to hug me and apologize. “I just want you back in my life,” he said, and we started from scratch right there and then; not as father and son necessarily, but as friends.

My mother, on the other hand is a different story.

We’ve had some good moments in the past, but she still clings to grudges and resentments from her childhood, so you can imagine how fresh something as “recent” as 17 years ago must be.

Interestingly enough, I’m very grateful for both of them.

While my father continues to show me what letting go looks like, my mother’s behavior has taught me equally valuable lessons on how not to be.

It’s sad, really, and I hope she starts forgiving people she believes have wronged her in the past, and that one day she decides to forgive me too.

Resentment is poisonous to our health, and it pains me that she suffers so much.

Please don’t be so quick to shut the door on people with whom you’ve gotten into arguments in the past.

Disagreements aren’t conflicts unless pride and ego get involved, and people do eventually grow out of those. Sometimes they just need to know that you have already forgiven them, and that it’s okay for them to approach you.

It’s true that we get comfort from those who agree with us, but we are offered opportunities for tremendous growth and maturity from those who disagree with us.

This has taught me to value everyone as my teacher.

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Assistant Ed: Dana Gornall/Ed: Sara Crolick

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