Forgiveness

I love music. It affects me in so many ways. Sometimes a song can make me really think about my life. These days I am reflecting on John (Cougar) Mellencamp’s song “Cherry Bomb”, where he sings, “Seventeen has turned thirty-five, I’m surprised that we’re still living. If we’ve done any wrong, I hope that we’re forgiven.” I am also hearing Don Henley’s “The Heart of the Matter” in my head where he sings about forgiveness.

This makes me reflect back on my younger days and the events that have shaped my life. Most notably the high school years (even though there are moments later in life that count). Yes, we were kids, but these are the years when events have a significant impact in the person we become. They are also the years we are most likely to hurt people around us the most and affect who others become. At least I hope the majority of these types of actions are limited mostly to these years. It’s easy to remember how others affected me, such as when someone hurt me or broke my heart, but giving it deeper thought, it makes me start to think about how the events in my life or my actions have shaped others.

I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally tried to hurt anyone, but as I’ve gotten older and look back, I can see times when in my naivety I possibly affected someone’s life in a negative way. As a minor example, I participated in many clubs in high school. I was the president of a few. I had a constant adversary who ran against me in everything. yet each time I won. Of course, at the time, I was proud of myself. Now I think about that. Was that right? Being president of more than one club was probably a bit excessive. One job received all my focus, and the others suffered a little. So in hindsight I think I should have backed off and let someone else have an opportunity that may (or may not) have made some small difference in their life. Did it change my opponent? Maybe. Maybe not.

There are also friendships. I recently learned that a friend (albeit not a close friend) really didn’t like who I was back then. She likes me now, but I have to admit that I was a little shocked to to learn that. I am happy to know that I am liked now, but it still hurts a little knowing that in my self-centeredness (what teenager or young adult isn’t self-centered?) I inadvertently did something that made someone feel negatively about me.  It can really make one think.

Then of course, there are the heartbreaks – both the romantic kind and the friendship kind. I don’t know if I really broke anyone’s heart, but I had my heart broken a couple times. I guess this is what made me put a protective bubble around my heart that now prevents me from letting too many people get too close. Luckily, I did let my heart open up to allow someone to get closer to me than anyone ever has been. Of course that would be my husband. Perhaps that was fate working. Whatever you want to call it, I’m glad it is at work.

Yes, we were all young and naive. I have changed over the years, as I am sure most people have. I can let go of the negative moments that adversely affected me back then and changed how I handle the relationships I have in my life. I have forgiven those people that I am close to that have hurt me. Those people who were just passing through my life for a brief moment, well forgiveness may not matter, but I can “let it go.” These were all just learning moments in my life. Moments that developed who I am, and I don’t think that’s so bad. Unfortunately there is still a protective bubble at work around my heart. It is difficult to break after so many years, and sadly even as an adult, I still tend to wait for the next heartbreaking moment to show itself to me. I just hope if I’ve done any wrong to anyone or hurt anyone emotionally and made them put up their own protective barriers, that I’m forgiven as well.

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