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HOLDING MY FIRE

It can be mighty hard not firing back at someone who has treated you in a way that would make being treating like a second-class citizen feel like you’d been elevated to the ranks of the elite.

Sheathing ones “sword” can be painful, especially when you know that the person you were inclined to draw it on is one who claimed to love and care about you, one who told you that their family was your family, and one who was, on reflection, almost gaudy and certainly melodramatic in their claim that your pledge to be there for them meant so very much. It is not easy when you realize it meant nothing, other than in the smokey light of their penchant for treating life like a movie, moments like scenes, and people like actors that can be recast at will since, after all, nothing is real.

Yet, when my anger begins to emerge, I remember that this is a person who grew into patterns for a reason. And the all of this person is not bad. Have I been wounded? Certainly. Will I heal? Absolutely. The question is, will they? I hope so, I truly do. The patterns were there long before I came along and they are there now. The real question is this. Will this person get free of them before there time in life is up? I hope so.

I am holding my fire. I am not, as I reflect, anywhere near past my anger. But I will be. And when I am, I do not want to look back and know I fired and wounded this person. I would rather look back and know I let go, and forgave, and wished them well.

The following piece by Reinhold Niebuhr is an exquiste one, and for me, says it all, for now.

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime,
Therefore, we are saved by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; Therefore, we are saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone.
Therefore, we are saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own; Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

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