I have been walking around with so much anger—or as we say in AA, “resentment.”
AA has its own lingo I learned through attending so many meetings. Like the aversion to the word “sin.” AA softened that word to “character defects.” The word “sin” has too much of a religious undertone to it, which doesn’t sit well with my AA spiritually high-minded friends. Lol. Sorry, I love my AA friends but that doesn’t mean I can’t make fun of their religious bias.
But back to my anger. It’s been simmering. And lately it’s gone into full-blown horribleness affecting my days, moods and interactions even with the innocent. And my anger went hand-in-hand with blame. So much blame.
I think this bothered me so much because it is the opposite of how I see myself, of how I try to live my life. It is the thing I dislike most in others (blame) so seeing it in myself was unbearable for my conscience. Or perhaps it is teaching me that once again I am no better than anyone else. We all have those moral lines, don’t we? The ones we wouldn’t cross? And we can accidentally use our own moral lines to tell ourselves we are better. “I would NEVER do THAT.”
The tolerance of a recovered alcoholic is pretty high. We understand each other, how human nature works and how we can sometimes do bad things. This dynamic is one of the reasons why I’ve found so much healing in AA, the ability to share my filth without fear of judgment. We get it. But still, even the most tolerant among us has lines we think we would never cross.
In my life, I kept having to move my lines. That’s when you know something is wrong, when you start breaking your own rules! My experience proves the phrase “never say never” has a lot of truth to it.
Long story short: I was in a pretty crappy marriage and over the last few years of it became a shell of a person. People who love me tell me there was emotional, mental and spiritual abuse going on. I find it tough to use the word “abuse” (I’m a word girl) because there were no physical signs on my body. In my case, the weird thing was I started abusing MYSELF physically in the end. Weird. Maybe one day I will understand what happened, but that’s for another post.
After the divorce was final, I drank a bottle of wine and took a bunch of pills of whatever I could find in my house—knocked me out for two days and I woke up in the hospital a little confused about what had happened. My sister was there and I later found of she had a local priest come by to give me the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Looking back, I 100% believe the sanctifying grace from that sacrament saved me spiritually and put me on a path the healing I never would have achieved without it. Grace is one thing, but SANCTIFYING grace is one whole other miracle making serum!
But, I’m walking around almost nine months later with all this anger—-my ex-husband and I are getting along okay but it’s really confusing. He says he regrets divorce, which make me happy, of course. But his actions don’t really indicate he regrets it, thus my confusion and anger. Soooo… what’s my point? Ugh.
My point is I could not forgive. When he is nice, I feel like I forgive him and I have peace. But my anger was still directed at his parents, his sister, his college girlfriend, his college other woman friend and his other woman friend. Lol. Usually when I talk about them I put very degrading, explicit adjectives in front of their names, but I’m getting better.
And angry at him for how mean he was, trying to get full custody of the children and in the end getting the house, cars, money but gave me 50% of the physical custody of the boys. I didn’t have the money his parents had to keep fighting and truly all that really mattered to me was the boys. But, now I find I’m pissed he got the house and money and cars. Asshole.
I’m up at Lake James in Nebo, NC. It’s so beautiful, peaceful. God is loud here. So loud. A friend of mine let me use his lake house for a few days, so I took the boys up here to chill. I do have to work while I’m here; but I decided when I got here I was going to get really close to God and work on forgiveness. It’s really affecting my life, so I have to do something about it.
And I think I’m on to something! God, in his great mercy has given me insight, or I guess He would call it “wisdom.” And I feel like I’ve struck gold so I had to share!
I don’t have to feel forgiveness. I don’t have to understand it. I don’t have to want it or believe anybody deserves it. I just have to do it because God says so. All I have to do it be obedient to God. Do what he says, even if I don’t understand it or want to. Like a loving parent, He only asks me to forgive because it is in my best interest. He knows I must forgive in order to have peace and move on. I knew this intellectually. Logically, I already knew this, but my feelings were getting in the way. Like a little child who doesn’t want to do her chores… “I don’t FEEL like it.”
The thing about God (like my parents) is He is trustworthy. Like, 100% trustworthy. Questioning His direction obviously only hurts me. Obedience to His trustworthy direction is giving me freedom. And I’m now FEELING it. Ha ha. So, the good feelings of forgiveness come AFTER I do it. I don’t have to have the feeling first. The feeling comes afterwards. All I have to do it obey God. Easy peasy, right?
So I got this wisdom. My next hurdle was, “Ok God I get it but HOW?” I “hate” these people. They are truly awful, horrible, evil people (lol) and I can’t forgive them! But you say I must, so you’re going to have to help me here. I have the willingness to do it, but only because you say so.
And that was God’s opening into my heart: my willingness. My willingness to forgive even though I didn’t want to. That was the door God walked through to give me His power to do what I couldn’t do. And two days later, I’m sitting here in freedom for the first time in months. Shocked. I have claw marks on my past, not wanting to let go or forgive. But with willingness, God walked in and performed a miracle in my mind/heart.
He even put in my readings yesterday morning the one about the woman caught in adultery and Jesus instructing the one without sin to cast the first stone. I laughed at this one—ok God, yes, I am a sinner, so how can I condemn these others? I’m putting my stone down and walking away from the fight.
I forgive only because it pleases God. I want so badly to please God. He has given me so many good things. He deserves my obedience. I trust whatever He wants me to do is ALL for my good. So, I step out on faith. I pray. I am honest with God, telling him I want this only because He wants it for me. I am willing to forgive because it pleases you, God. I want to be obedient to God even if I don’t understand it or feel like it.
And voila! Freedom. Obedience equals freedom. And the good feelings that follow forgiveness are overflowing in me right now. Thank you, again God. Why do I fight you so hard? Can it really be this easy?