Tag Archives: forgiveness

My lesson in Humility and hopefully, Forgiveness

Today has been an interesting day. It’s Anti-Bullying Day and I wrote a blog about a few of my personal experiences of being bullied. It was tough to write, but it was one of the chapters that makes up my story and has helped me become the person that I am today. As it turns out, my grade 7 story is shared by someone else, and unfortunately, I was on the other side of it.

I received a reply on my blog post, and it absolutely broke my heart. I read it four times, and then replied privately to the writer, and instead of instantly hitting “approve”, I did nothing. I logged into the back of my blog and read some other comments and replied to a few of them. And some way, somehow, I ended up deleting this particular response. My first thought was, “phew, no one needs to see that” but my second thought was, how would I want my words addressed, so here we are.

Thankfully, I still have the original email, so I’m posting a screenshot of it here for you all to read.

sunny

I know that’s really hard to read, so I’m copying and pasting it here.

Very well written! Good for you for standing up against bullying. It is terrible that you were bullied. I do hope you remember that you were also on the other side of the boat in grade 7. I considered not saying anything but since you are calling out people that you know I feel I had to stand up for myself too. Do you recall writing a note with your friend about how you couldn’t believe the new girl wore the same shirt for two days in a row and then proceeded to pass it around the ENTIRE class? I do. That was my first taste of bullying, it knocked the wind of an already awkward shy girl. I put it behind me and realize now it was probably what you had to do to get some revenge for being picked on yourself. Before you call out everyone in your former Junior High school please know that some of us know exactly how you felt.

Now you know why my first instinct at the mistaken delete felt “good”. To say that I feel ashamed of what I’ve done is a gross understatement. I actually still cannot even believe that I did such a thing, and don’t remember doing it at all. But if this person says that I did this, I need to own my part in it.

So “Sunny”, whoever you are, this response is for you.

Number One. Thank-you for writing this reply, I’m sure it was really hard to do and I so appreciate your willingess to put yourself out there.
Number Two. I am so very sorry for hurting you. I honestly can’t remember doing that, but I’m not going to say that I didn’t do it either. I’d love to say that I hope you were right and that I did it to take the attention off myself, but that would be a total cop-out. If I did that, there is no excuse and it shouldn’t have happened.
Please know that if I could go back and redo that moment in time, that I would. When I read your words, I literally felt like throwing up. It makes me sick to learn that I made someone else feel the exact same things that I was feeling. That is so not okay, and I am so sorry. Please forgive me for being a part of something that so obviously affected you deeply but thank-you for giving me the opportunity to set it right.

Today has been a day of humbling for me. As an adult, I conciously make the effort to choose better because I know the pain that bullying and judgement can cause. But today, this one simple act of courage taken by someone from my past has forced me to once again look in the mirror.

Thank-you for not expecting me to be perfect and thank-you for forgiving me in my weakness when I wasn’t yet strong. Your words affected me deeply, and I promise you, they will not be taken for granted.

Bravery via Keyboard

I’m not exactly sure how many more times I can watch my friends and fellow business owners get ripped apart via Social Media, without deleting everyone and moving into a bubble, so instead I’m writing this.

And now I take a deep breath and go ….

I cannot believe how many people with justified complaints and concerns think that those things give them the right to become abusive and downright ignorant. Yes, you’ve been wronged or don’t understand why a decision was made, and that’s okay. And yes, you’ve got every right to ask about it and ask for clarification. 

In theory, many of these “situations” will turn out to just be a misunderstanding but quite often, rules or pricing or ideas were put in place for a reason. They aren’t going to change because you’re screaming at the top of your lungs or throwing ignorant comments around like confetti. And maybe, just maybe, you could be wrong. Get a grip people, life isn’t always fair. Plain and simple.

So if you’re one of those people that is using Facebook, Twitter, Yelp or even Google as a disguise to say WHATEVER you want, get over yourself. Hiding behind a computer screen and using a keyboard as a weapon is so not okay. Stop doing it.

When you’re sitting there all riled up, angry and ready to start spewing out nasty words, think. Would you be brave enough to say this to the persons face? If not, why are you saying it?

If you feel that it’s a great place to address concerns with a business, think again. If you’ve got serious issues with something or someone, email them or call them. Making hateful posts and comments are so not fair and in all honesty, very childish.

It’s very hard to get your point across in words and it’s so easy to take things out of context. Your simple complaint can spin wildly out of control, and cause huge problems for someone who made an innocent mistake.

We have bad days, we make mistakes. We say things out of anger or out of sheer desperation. We scream when we want to cry. We walk away when we need to apologize. We ALL do it. Pause a second, take a breath and give people the opportunity to apologize and/or rectify the situation. 

Make a choice to do the right thing, and for pete’s sake, send an email or give a phone call as opposed to spewing your hatred all over Social Media. Odds are good that you’re not going to end up accomplishing what you set out to do. Your “enemy” will appear justified and you will look like a fool. Stand up for yourself, but do that like an adult and not a pubescent teenager.

None of us are perfect …. quit acting like you are. This isn’t about judgement, this is about common sense. Be good to each other. Please.

rudeness

Thanks. And a whole lot more.

It’s Thanksgiving. The perfect time to reflect and say thank-you for all of the things you have been blessed with in your life. A time to hug your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. It’s a time to step out of yourself and recognize what’s truly important.

After you’ve said your thanks this year, I challenge you to do something more. I challenge you to forgive.

Thankfulness is easy … forgiveness isn’t.

Think of that person that has wronged you or hurt you deeply. Have you forgiven them for their mistakes or are you letting that situation stop you from moving forward? Are there people that you do your best to avoid just so you don’t have to deal with past crap?  Are there places that you refuse to go to for fear of running into someone you don’t want to see?

Are these same people that you’re running from, people that you once loved with all your heart?  When you’re wronged by someone that you love, it seems to hurt twice as much. But for some reason, these special and important relationships are quite often never repaired.  These hurts run rampant in our own families and it is such a shame.

My question to you is this, is it really worth it? Why are you willing to let someone else control your happiness and experiences? Stop letting the past dictate your future and move forward. Are you really okay with never having a relationship with these people ever again and are you truly content with living a life full of avoidance? We tell other people to forgive and forget all the time but yet it’s so hard to do ourselves. I say that we start taking our own advice and choose better.

Forgiveness does not equal weakness. Never, ever confuse the two. Forgiveness is about moving on and letting go. It doesn’t mean you have to forget or that you have to fall back into old patterns or acceptance of abuse. It means that you are giving yourself the freedom to breathe and move forward. It means that you are taking the power back for yourself and living your life to the fullest.

Be thankful for the people in your life, the good times, the bad times and the times yet to come. Be thankful for the joys you have experienced and the lessons that you have learned. Be thankful that you have the ability to forgive and move on. That is something to be truly thankful for.

M is for Mine

I read a post by the fabulous Redneck Mommy yesterday and it struck a chord with me. I encourage you to go and read it here. In fact, while you’re on her page, read her story. This is a woman and a family that have endured some unthinkable things and still continue to press on.

Tanis said things that I think about all the time. She’s adopted her child, so her story is different from mine. But I too struggle with the other Mom’s in my life.

I’m a foster parent. I have the honor of raising children that have been pushed aside or had to take a backseat to addictions and abuse. They quite often are a product of tragedy or terrible circumstances. They don’t have other family able to care for them anymore or their “issues” are too scary for people to take on. Whatever the reasons are,  I’ve come into their lives because there’s no other options available. I am their 2nd or 3rd or 15th chance at a normal life.  But, I am not their Mom.

We’ve had dozens of children live with us, and every single one of them still had involvement with their real Mom’s. On one hand I’m happy that they have contact with their bio-parent because that’s important, but it also makes it a lot tougher for me. I’m the one that “goes against” their real Mom … not because of what I do, but because of the place I’ve taken in their life. I am always the other parent,  even though they’re in my care 99% of the time.  I am everything they wish their real Mom would’ve been. They want their Mom holding them and loving them, they don’t want me.

I’m the one that parents them, sets rules and gives them expectations, all things that they know nothing about. I’m the voice that tells them things that they’ve never even heard before. “You are only a child, you don’t have to take care of yourself. You may not go for a walk at midnight, you can’t spend the night at your girlfriends house because you’re 11, drinking and smoking do not make you cool, and neither do drugs. Yes, you need to wear socks and underwear and no you can’t just steal something because you like it. I’m sorry that’s how you used to do things, but we’re going to try something new now”.

I’m the one that wakes them from their screaming nightmares. I’m the one driving them to counselling appointments in hopes of repairing some of the damage that’s been caused by others. I’m the one fighting for justice for them. It’s me listening to their stories of abuse, horror and betrayal. You’ll find me sitting at doctors appointments, or waiting in the lobby at the dentist or optometrist. It’s me begging teachers for a second chance or going to court to learn the terms of probation. But still, I’m not their Mom.

Some of my days are so incredibly difficult and trying that I can’t even put them into words. My heart breaks for them and what they’ve been through, but somehow I still have to reach them. I spend hours and hours trying to piece together their past and figure out the reasons for what they do and how to help them work through it all. I fight everyday to teach them a new way of thinking and to show them a better way of living. I struggle with making them feel safe enough that they’ll let their past experiences go.

Then there’s the weekly visits with “Mom”, and everything that I’ve worked so hard for is questioned. My parenting style, my rules, my choices for them are judged and quite often ridiculed. They end up being showered with candy, and treats and zero expectations. I quickly become the bad guy again, and again, and again.

But I know that this is all that they have with her and that’s all she has to give them. I know that her heart breaks for all that she’s lost with them, and I hope that if she could go back and choose differently, that she would. I also know that it’s easier to make me out to be the bad guy instead of taking all the blame for herself. And well, I guess I’ll take that.

While you live with your regrets, bad choices and the ability to bash me, I’m raising your babies. I’m watching them grow and change. I’m seeing breakthroughs and changes that I once never dreamed were possible. I’m watching the child that didn’t hardly speak for 6 months now sing and talk so much that we have to bribe her to just shush for a minute. I’m at their award ceremonies and cheering them on at sporting events. I’m telling them that they don’t have to love me, because it makes them feel unloyal to you. I’m encouraging them to forgive you and all your mistakes. I’m giving them permission to not call me Mom because they already have one.

So, I give you that. You can be their Mom. Please know that I will never disrespect you to them. I will love them like my own and I will raise them to the best of my ability. I promise you that they will leave me better than they came.

I will honor you as their Mother. But while they are with me, they are MINE.

*I must say that not all of my experiences with Bio-parents have been bad, and I’ve also had kids that have amazing extended families. This was just me clearing my head of 13 years of being Mom Number Two.

This post is Day 15 of the Summer Blog Challenge – 31 posts in 31 Days

Please visit my fellow challenge bloggers and read their stories.

Meaghan at Magz D Life
Tam at Tam I Am
Liam at In The Now
Jessica at2plus2X2

Apologize. It’s the right thing to do.

Picture Property of 20th Century Fox.

I’ve let my kids down and I’ve let my friends down. I’ve made some really bad financial decisions. I’ve spoken very mean words and have given many mean glances. I’ve not delivered on promises that I’ve made and I’ve forgotten to do some very important things. Do I wish that I could go back in time and have a do-over? Without question. But instead, I’ve tried to learn from these things, and I’ve always tried to apologize and rectify my mistakes. When I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I hate that I’ve let these things happen, but I own my part in them.

Everyone has screwed up and made a mistake in their life at one point or another.  Many of us make those same mistakes over and over and over and over before we even consider change. Just as many of us refuse to accept any responsibility for our part in these problems. Instead, the blame gets placed on others and that is wrong. People are going to react when you make a mistake. Why in the world would you expect anything different?

Instead of being so stinking melodramatic and trying to draw attention away from YOU and YOUR mistakes, just suck it up, deal with it and move on. If you need to apologize, do that. If you need to change your behaviour, do that. If you need to make amends or pay someone back, just do it already. Stop wasting your time and energy defending an error, and quit trying to justify it with excuses.  

Our past mistakes do not predict our future if we don’t let them. When you’ve done something wrong, apologize. Always try to take the high road and be an example of the right thing to do. Admit your mistakes, make a change and move forward.

“I’m sorry” are some of the most freeing words that you’ll ever use. Try saying them some time.

Faith shouldn’t make you Crazy.

This post is different from the rest, but it’s something that I really feel like I must address. Agree or disagree, that’s totally cool. Either way, think of this as a challenge to do better.

Religion/Faith. Why does it make so many people crazy, and mean and totally inappropriate? Why is it that people use it as a shield to hide behind while they throw stones and jabs at others? Why do people claim their own righteousness while lying about what they’re doing behind closed doors? Why do people believe that a proclamation of faith makes them more valuable than the others around them? Why do people insist on standing in a place of judgement when they themselves are not perfect? Why do Christian people spend so much time pushing Non-Christians away? Why do we continue to do these things to each other? I just don’t get it.

I consider myself truly blessed to have friends from all walks of life, with different belief systems and even some with no belief system at all. I’ve heard stories of people and their walks with God, and quite often their walk away from God. Many of my friends and acquaintances have switched their beliefs and now follow totally different systems than what they grew up with. Some have never heard any other “message” than what was taught to them when they were little. Many don’t really even believe in anything and just choose to do good. When I question friends and their choices, I’m always saddened to learn their reasons for not believing and/or walking away. It’s people. It’s almost always people. Stupid People.

I know what I believe and in my heart, I know that it is true and right. I know what I read in the bible, and those are the words that guide my life. I also recognize that there are many things in the bible that I accept as truths that lots of people don’t share with me. I’m also fully aware that lots of people feel that many of the principles and ideals taught in the bible are outdated and really don’t apply anymore. I know that the Bible has been interpreted many different ways, and that bits and pieces have been changed to suit different groups purposes and beliefs. I know all of that, and yet, I still believe.

What bothers me more than anything is when “Christians” act holier than thou and beat each other down in the name of their religion. Until we are perfect and without any sin in our own hearts and lives, we cannot judge. Ever. Do you not see that by judging so harshly that you’re pushing people so far into corners that they have to come out fighting? What is the point in putting people on the defensive? What purpose does that really serve? Please tell me where God is in that?

Am I suggesting that you turn your back on what you believe and throw your ideals to the wind? Absolutely not. What I am suggesting is that we listen to the people around us. If you don’t agree with what they’re saying or what they’re practicing, that’s okay. It’s your right to walk away, just as it is theirs. You do not have to support their causes, their political choices or what they practice at home. But you can love them in spite of your differences and be an example of what God has asked us to do. Love one another.

God is about forgiveness and meeting people exactly where they’re at. God is about saving people from themselves and their silly choices and decisions. God is about loving your neighbour as yourself. God is not about judgement, discord or ignorance. If you’ve been affected negatively by “christians”, please know that we’re not all the same. God didn’t let you down, people did. Never forget that.

People mess up all the time. There are gossips leading churches. Revered pastors have engaged in extra-marital affairs. Congregation members have met outside of church and engaged in illegal activities. Political leaders make false statements. Upstanding leaders commit horrific crimes.  Those things do happen, but that isn’t God. That is people exercising their free will, a God given right. Unfortunately some people use that gift to abuse and mistreat others or to act with outright stupidity. God doesn’t make mistakes. People Do. There IS a difference.

If you are a Christian person preaching your faith to the world, watch your actions and your words. The world is watching you and judging you, EXACTLY as you’re judging them. If you want people to respect our rights to speak out for what we believe in, you have to respect theirs. If you want to be able to speak into other people’s lives, you need to leave the lines of communication open. Bashing on others sexual orientation, statements of faith, seedy past or current lifestyle choices does not show the love of God that should emanate from within us.

On the flip side, if you are a leader in your community and are fighting for things that are important to you, please act the same way. As strongly as you feel, recognize that others are feeling just as strongly on the other side. Respect is a two-way street, we ALL need to remember that. There are many things that I will not sway on, no matter your argument or presentation of evidence. I ask that you respect them, and honor my choice to believe in them. We may not always agree, but I will honor your choices while I stand up for mine.  

Recognize that your words and actions can and will affect people around you. If you truly believe in something, share it with grace. We can still stand up for what we believe in without tearing others down. We can fight for our own causes, teach our children what we want, and choose our political leaders without ripping theirs to shreds. Frankly, if we stop judging each other, we just might be able to let some walls down and be exactly who we’re meant to be.

*I am not perfect, nor do I claim to be. I’m not a bible scholar, a preacher or an activist of any kind. I am someone that struggles with being the best that I can be everyday. I mess up and I ask forgiveness. I work at being an example to my children and the world around me. I want people to always feel safe enough to share their lives with me. I want to do better.