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Coming to terms

Writing about our stories helps us not only to see what happened from a new perspective but our role in the outcome.  It also gives us the opportunity to take away nuggets of learning and wisdom.

Yet, there were things that happened that you might find difficult to let go of – that continue to spark your anger. You still feel betrayed and taken advantage of.  Forgiveness is out of the question as far as you are concerned and you are not ready to acknowledge any participation on your part in events gone awry.

Resentments continue to burn deep within your soul and spirit and an internal dialogue repeats “I have a right to feel angry and bitter. I was taken advantage of and made to feel stupid.  If I simply accept and let it go, won’t I be admitting that I really am a fool?  How can I come to terms with all that?

Life Experiences will be both good and bad

We will experience events in life that take advantage of our goodwill, our desire to get along and be a good neighbor. There will be tragedies associated with someone else’s hate or lack of responsibility or careless actions that leave us crippled or disabled in some way.  There will be achievements thwarted; losses too deep to speak about. There will be many things that cannot be changed: the death of a spouse, the loss of your marriage, addiction, loss of health or finances; and the loss of support and care in your declining years.

Discover a new way to move forward

Coming to terms with injustice, tragedies and losses of any kind, whether in our past or present, first requires acceptance. Hanging on to our losses and injustices is like carrying around a huge suitcase full of rocks and stones.  It robs you of your ability to move forward.

Coming to terms requires acceptance

Acceptance doesn’t mean everything will suddenly be back to normal or okay. It simply means you stop fighting and arguing about how cruel the world is or how badly you have been treated.  Life is not fair.  We can grumble and moan and rant and rave, but we can’t change history; we can’t change what others have done or what we have done. Instead, by making a conscious and deliberate choice to let go of anger, hate, resentment, and lingering frustration you can have a different outcome.

Coming to terms is for you

Coming to terms means that after we stop denying, fighting or struggling we make a decision to leave what can’t be changed behind and decide to bring forward what is good.  There is some good that can come out of the worst atrocity.  We can reach out our hand to someone who is hurting.  We can develop a compassion for others who are struggling.  We can see the pain of a neighbor and offer a word of understanding and comfort.

In any moment in time, we choose how we will respond to life.

Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist, Jew, and survivor of the concentration camps of WWII wrote, “to live is to suffer; to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.”  In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, he shares that even in the horrendous conditions of Auschwitz, “What alone is the last of human freedoms is the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.”

We will be challenged to live our values in the face of discarded principles and standards.  We will be challenged to choose how we want to respond to life – both in our past and in the future.  We will be challenged to make decisions that go counter to our desire to get payback or get even or follow the crowd.

But it is in those challenges that we grow and become more of who we are – a child of God, a person who endeavors to make a difference and that no matter the struggle, we will continue in that endeavor.

Marlene Anderson

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