I can’t sleep tonight. Lots running around the brain about love, and forgiveness, and how the internet has a memory like 20 gajillion elephants.
It’s Valentine’s Day. Tony and I celebrated yesterday to avoid the 800% price hike across the continent, and today I got some beautiful red roses and watched season 4 of The Tudors. (We’re at the Queen Catherine Howard bit.)
Then I checked my emails and read one that I probably wasn’t supposed to receive, let alone digest and lose sleep over.
Darn Reply All function.
I’ve blogged for almost 10 years now. Started lots of blogs, but they didn’t go very far because I was writing either to vent or psycho-analyse. And then one day, at my most heartbroken, I forgot myself and in a very selfish act, went and burnt many bridges through my writing. And it doesn’t matter how much spax you throw at it. When something like this happens, the bridge doesn’t get built again. You have to go and build a new bridge. Or you build it halfway, and you wait for the other side to respond. Which may never happen.
Some people murder, others steal. I hurt people through clumsy, hot words.
And if you’re reading this and thinking, “Huh? What happened? What’s she talking about? What are the specifics?” – complete dampener here. This post isn’t about rehashing past regrets. But it is about words.
As far as possible, I try to have my insides match my outsides. But this also means that my inside words sometimes shoot past the filter and land on the outside, impaling individuals in the process.
As far as possible, I try to forgive easily. And most of the time, I do. But I really, REALLY struggle with forgiving others who have not forgiven me. Especially after I’d forgiven them, only to find my forgiveness rebuffed and my wrong, forever embossed on their foreheads and their hearts. And then I fall a little bit to pieces.
There’s a video that’s gone viral in the past week. It’s a father’s video response to his teenage daughter’s Facebook rant. Huge spoiler – he shoots her laptop to teach her a lesson. It’s a tit for tat response, father to daughter.
You can watch it for yourself, if you can stomach all of it:
It makes me squirm for so many reasons, chief of which are:
- The daughter reminds me of what I’ve been like.
- The father reminds me of what I’ve been like.
- It’s an awful lesson on parenting.
- I’m almost certainly capable of doing something that desperate and petty to Arddun.
The worst part is how public it all is. Long, loooong after that teenager grows up and marries and has children of her own, that video will be lurking around somewhere on the internet. It’s hard enough trying to forgive and forget… but now there’s a replay button.
What am I trying to say?
On a day when love is celebrated, I received an email that confirmed that I was not loved. Words floating around on the internet, biting me for a change. And perhaps I read too much into it. The email didn’t dwell on specifics. And perhaps I’m being quite melodramatic. Expecting to be loved is a huge ask.
Except I wasn’t asking to be loved. Just forgiven.
Except that I know forgiveness requires the forgiver to love.
If there’s one big, multi-pronged life skill I hope to teach Arddun even though I have such a lousy track record myself, it’d be this: the ability to shut up and love her enemies, and bless those who hurt her. I’m thinking real hard about this as I type, because it’d be more simplistic to wish that she could just make friends, not enemies.
But enemies sometimes find you, even when you keep right out of their way. It is the nature of bullies.
And as for forgiveness – the devil is in the detail of remembering. And I pray tonight for a heart that can let go and let God.