Faith is something that I’ve often heard that you either have it, or you don’t. I don’t know if that is a correct assessment or not. Some folks struggle with their faith throughout their entire lifetime. Others make their faith walk look like a breeze. I think that’s one reason that faith and forgiveness don’t always coincide when others wrong us in our lives. If anything, it makes us struggle within our souls not to hold grudges and want the best for those who didn’t wish the same in return.
When I worked for a hospital system, a Team Leader CNA detested several other people and me. She did everything in her power to get several of us fired, and one by one, she succeeded. She had a heart of venom. I don’t know what transpired in her life that made her life miserable. She had a good man, two beautiful children, and people that loved her unconditionally. But she lived with lots of jealousy of others. None of her victims understood what they did to make her fill her arsenal of hate. She made sure those folks that she targeted would not find work in the health care system. Years later, I saw her at Starbucks, where I worked. When she came through the line, she made a point of being nasty in her actions with me. Even my bosses said I was kind to her and didn’t deserve the treatment I received. I won’t lie to you and tell you that I got over her treatment of me. It still stings when I remember those days. But, I have learned to forgive her, and my faith has reminded me that it will forever haunt me if I can’t get past her actions. This logic is why I could finally let go of the anger I felt for her actions. Karma will find a way to get her in the future for her treatment of others.
Karma came back on me when I did terrible things to others I cared about, and I pushed those emotions so far down that it took years to deal with them. In college, I lied so much to my friends and families that I began to believe the lies. I got involved with people who were street hustlers. I learned how to live fast and hard without having a conscience. It was a thrilling and scary time in my life. Leaving that life behind had a lot of consequences to contend with over the last couple of decades. When you live life with no remorse for the consequences you create, there is a danger that you may not return to a life of responsibility. As far as relationships with men, I used them for whatever I could. I’ve come to regret those actions over the years. I hustled people out of money on a pool table. I created mayhem and, after I lost everything, learned that I was self-destructing. It took years to learn to forgive myself. Some of the people I hurt by my actions died before I ever got a chance to make amends. I have to live with that knowledge for the rest of my life. While it took a long journey to get a sense of pride back in who I am, I had to learn the person I was had died.
Sure, my honesty about what transpired might cost me jobs in the future. That’s okay. At least I can live with myself now, knowing that I’ve changed for the better. I’m not proud of how I acted in my late teens and early twenties, but I don’t recognize the person I was then versus who I am now. I’ve leaned on faith, friends, family, and life lessons to mold me into a better version of myself. If I could make amends with those who are no longer living, I would in a heartbeat, and if they didn’t accept my apologies, I can’t fix their reactions. Life is too short. Some of us make mistakes that are more intense than others. If we aren’t willing to recognize our mistakes and grow from them, we will forever repeat those mistakes.
If there are people who wronged you, remember it’s on them. Please don’t give them the power to control your happiness. Learn to forgive yourself and let go of the anger, the hurt, and the frustration. You will always have those moments in time that it stings on the memories, but when you can let go of the negative energy that zaps your soul, you can use forgiveness and faith to emerge stronger, empowered, and ready to tackle more important issues in your lives. Have a great Wednesday, everyone.