from where I stand. 

I left you trailing behind me today…out my rear window. Rain poured down as I left you behind. Suddenly it was if the fist clenched tight in my chest was slowly starting to release. 

I left you behind…the tightly wound fist of resentment. It has been in the back of my mind for quite sometime. I realized in the past year that resentment even has a taste. 

A bitter metallic taste. 

Being Irish, I had always prided myself on how forgiving I was. How somehow that “grudge” holding gene skipped me. Don’t get me wrong- I am fiercely loyal. I will fight for someone’s honor, and take care of the people I love. But I didn’t hold onto those things later- instead I would release what ever it was or who it was that hurt me or someone else. They weren’t worth my head space. At least that’s what I said. 

…then I had kids. 

And everything changed. 

It is far harder to forget the choices other people have made that have affected my kids…the coach who didn’t put my son in for the entire game because “he really wanted to win…” and then told my son that. The “adult” who picked on my child and then favored others. The coach from the other team who yelled to his pitcher when my son went up to bat “it’s number 7, easy strike out.” The “friend” who told my kid he was fat. All of those things happened to just ONE of my children. And while they are all separate have irrevocably changed my child. While I have never forgot it, and while rethinking about it makes me so sad, I have forgiven these individuals. I mean I’m not sending them a Christmas Card or anything, and I don’t want to have coffee with them.  But I don’t resent them. They made mistakes…very flawed and some of them were mean mistakes. But I forgive them. 

And I won’t ever say my child is stronger for it. While I believe children are resilient they are also human and can be deeply hurt by the actions of others. They don’t forget and they don’t get over it easily. But my child, my Son, who is now my teenager, is insightful and compassionate and kind. Because he knows what it feels like on the other side. And he is strong, but not because of what people chose to say or do to him, but because of how God made him. And I could not be more proud. 

I forgive because…

I am incredibly flawed. And I’ve made big mistakes and some of them have been hurtful and mean. And I’ve received forgiveness…so I should offer the same. 

But. But. 

Something happened in the past year that has become a huge source of resentment. I’ve tasted bitterness thinking about it. One of my children(a different child)  after I told them about a situation at school, thought and requested to do the right thing. I know I’m being vague, but that is on purpose. In a nutshell, the “right” thing didn’t happen. Even though it was logical, it wasn’t done. The passionate part of me, tried to state his case, because I knew the powers that be wouldn’t hear him…he was a kid. But instead I became the subject of gossip, and an individual with no filter told me everything that was said about me.  Afterwards I felt a wave of resentment I hadn’t felt since Middle School. I thought it was because someone used their authority in such a stupid way, especially when it should have been about the kids, and only the kids. Or maybe because a couple people stopped talking to me because of the situation, even without the real facts. Maybe because I found out someone I loved and trusted talked about me.

I tried to pin point the reason I was holding tight to this resentment. The unfairness of it all left such a bad taste in my mouth. 

I shared with a dear friend who just encouraged me to let it go. It was months past. So I tried. And for the most part I did, until the event that started it all came around again. Another one of my children is a part of the activity. (I know, I have way too many kids…)  There’s been no situations, but still the resentment was there. 

Until today. 

Today as I drove back from Seattle as the sky was still dark, I realized my resentment was there not because of what was done to me, but because the intent of my child was doubted. As his parents we have spent his entire childhood wondering how we received such an incredibly caring person. He has a servant’s heart, and his faith is incredible. I realized that I was carrying around resentment because they were giving me too much credit, when it wasn’t my idea- it was all him. He deserved to be acknowledged for his kind heart and amazing soul. Funny how I spent my entire childhood wanting to be noticed and stand out…but now nothing I do is really about me anymore. If I’m not giving the love I’ve been so freely given, if I’m not showing God to others quietly, then I’m doing it wrong.

 I want my kids to be loved, but I also want them to love others. And so far, they haven’t learned that from me…it has always been them. 

But as the freeway stretched in front of me I realized a big something. 

My son, Daniel, didn’t want the acknowledgment. He just wanted to do the right thing. It’s the same reason he shaved his head last week, in honor of his Papa John who has cancer…or asked if we could light a candle for his best friend Britt who had pneumonia after mass. He doesn’t do it to be noticed…he does it because that’s who he is. No more, no less. I held on to something because they should have seen that. It had nothing to do with me, it was always him. My beautiful boy. But since they didn’t, they were missing out. 

In the early dark morning, I opened the my window in my heart and let the resentment go. It unraveled slowly and I left it behind me.  All that time wasted, slowly trickled out as I drove away. 

Resentment didn’t make me stronger, it just made me sad and kept me going back in the same place in my head, running over a silly situation in life. Instead my resolve to forgive is strengthened, but even more so is the joy of what I should have focused on. Even though it didn’t work out He did the right thing. 

How often have we held tight to something? So tight that it has burned holes in our heart and hardened us with bitterness?  

It’s not worth it. 

From where I stand I truly believe this is a year of Restoration. For all of us. Maybe we’ve allowed things to build for too long, and we’ve become so stuck on the details we’ve forgotten to look up and just be present…in this. To savor the taste of joy and gratefulness in the little miracles that happen when we least expect them. In the freedom of realizations and the choice to let things go for good. 

Today, I smiled because God gave me children who are so His, but he’s letting Me call them mine. They will go through many more tough things, and will be hurt. And they will hurt others. But they will offer forgiveness, and will know forgiveness. Because they are beautiful souls. 

Today… I left you behind. And found peace up ahead.