It is quite obvious that a February newsletter would focus in on love, a theme for February. However, I thought that topic by itself would be rather common and boring! After all, we have heard many stories. What did come to me was the idea of forgiveness even when things don’t turn out the way you thought they would. The reality is that nothing is promised, and I now suggest to people that when things are working well, be grateful and enjoy it for the moment, for one never knows what tomorrow will bring, as much as we pretend that everything will be or stay the same.
There have been countless books and movies made about all kinds of love. I am sure we all know someone who went through the loss of a spouse or significant other. It even might be you. I know stories of people whose spouse abandoned them never to be heard from again, others who died of an illness, took their own lives or suffered great mental illness. It almost makes you wonder what is kind and loving about difficult situations involving a loved one. How does one end a relationship with understanding unless both parties agree that it is not working and they tried everything they could?
It seems that one person is always more hurt than the other because they didn’t want to end their relationship. I have come to think of relationships as chapters in our lives. The idea of living in wedded bliss for 50-60 years has been fast fading from Western culture. The reasons people married a century ago are different than our lives in the 21st century. It is not that one way of living was better than another; rather different. People are all trying to adjust to these strange times we live in where meeting people naturally seems like an oddity since the advent of technology which has created its own nightmares!
You might be wondering what forgiveness has to do with any of this. There was a saying I heard a long time ago, “to forgive is to give love for a person or situation.” In this way, you are also forgiving yourself for doing the best you could at the time with what you knew then. No one can predict how the future will unfold. Can you predict how you will feel when a change transforms the relationship? And what good does it do to hold on to anger and resentment? I learned a long time ago from Dr. Elise Boulding that “anger is a gift which lets us know something needs to be changed.” I suppose the difficulty lies in who is making the change. Yes, we have all been disappointed; and that too is a part of life. Acceptance is the key to more serenity instead of wondering why something happened. As Rabbi Kushner wrote in his book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, ‘don’t ask why something happened, ask what you can do about it.”
I try to live my life in gratitude but sometimes I forget. To err is human. In closing, might I suggest to focus on good memories rather than sad ones? They all form the tapestry of our lives and the joy from choosing to be grateful for the happier ones will help the heartaches dissipate. We all have lessons to learn in this lifetime.
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