Friday, November 17, 2017

A Time of Sorrow and a Time of Forgiveness

My bike ride this morning started in the dark.  As the days are getting shorter, early morning and early evening have less sunlight and it's strange riding my bike in the dark but it clears my head of the cobwebs of sleep.  My brain took me to a place that surprised me. I thought about my widowed and widower friends and our conversations over the years. We meet monthly and sometimes more often for activities.

In the last eleven years, I have learned more about death than I ever care to admit. As we grow older we know more who pass on to the next life but the most difficult for many is losing their spouse. (Losing a child is just about as tragic in difficulty and maybe this is a message for parents as well)

The one person we are tied to in such close intimacy is gone from earth until we can meet again on the other side. It is so very painful emotionally and physically and is considered the most stressful experience a human can have. So how do we cope with others trying to help?  How do we react when others tell us ridiculous things like "It was his time to go, anyway." Or "Lucky you, single and unattached." I have heard so many more unknowing, crazy words from others.

Those were my thoughts this dark morning riding around Mesa. There are so many who want to help, so many who care and want to take the pain away and make it all better.  They can't but they try and we, as the recipient of this love and compassion become hurt and bitter at times because no one understands what we are going through. No one except those who experience it themselves really know. We have such great sorrows.

The inspiration which came to me this  morning was that along with these great sorrows, we must find some compassion and forgive those who mean well but say hurtful words. Most of the time (I would say 95% of the time as I had someone purposely be hurtful to me after my husband passed away) people are caring and want to help. They want to know what they can do to make life easier and then do it.

This is where forgiveness on our part bridge the gap between bitterness and hope. Widows and widowers need to forgive those who mean well. We need to be compassionate towards all those who try to do their best in understanding our sorrows but miss the mark.

The big question is, how can I say we need to be forgiving when all those other people throw those well  meaning words at us and expect us to feel better? It's a touchy subject among widows and widowers but I feel strongly that I need to write about it.

After the initial, raw pain is lessened by time (and it's different for everyone) we can take a step back and think about those well meaning people with their words and know that they were talking from the heart. They wanted the best for us.

One of my husband's favorite songs is Don Henley's Heart of the Matter. It's on a CD he made along with a whole selection of favorite songs which I play from time to time when I drive to work. Yesterday was one of those times and as I listened to the words of this song, it reminded me that I had to forgive others.  I had to remember the intent from where they were coming and know that they were trying to be kind. It can be difficult to forgive but for our own well being, it is necessary.
These words really speak to me:



Heart of the Matter
by Don Henley
(Starting with the Chorus)

I'm learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand,
All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again
I've been tryin' to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore


Ah, these times are so uncertain
There's a yearning undefined
And People filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age?
Ah, the trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
They're the very things we kill, I guess
Ohh, pride and competition
Cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us, you know it doesn't keep me warm

I'm learning to live with out you now
But I miss you, baby
And the more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I'd figured out
I have to learn again
I've been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

There are people in your life
Who've come and gone
They let you down
You know they hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby
'Cause life goes on
You keep carryin' that anger
It'll eat you up inside baby
I've been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me

So, after the sorrows have subsided and after the pain loses its rawness, we can forgive those well meaning people who love us and want the best for us. We can forgive their silly words and be strengthened by the fact that there are many who care about us. That is at the heart of the matter.


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