Otto took a leak on the downstairs carpet last night.
Yes, my initial reaction was anger, but less than 30 minutes later, we were out on our evening walk, and I truly enjoyed being out in the crisp air walking Otto around the block.
This afternoon, it dawned on me – why was it so easy to forget about the carpet and enjoy my evening? Why was it so easy NOT to hold a grudge? Yes, he’s a puppy and these things happen, but why do we find it so hard to forgive each other when we make mistakes?
My ex-girlfriend Tina and I broke up over 25 years ago, and to this day, she still holds a grudge because of an argument we had. Forget the fact that I apologized – what’s the point in carrying that anger and resentment for 25 years? My college roommate and I had a falling out about five years ago….we reconnected last Christmas, and although we don’t talk as much as we used to, I hold no grudges. It just doesn’t feel healthy.
I know I’ve said and done things that have hurt people, and I’ve had things said and done to me that were hurtful and traumatic. It’s been very hard, but I’ve forgiven those people who I felt wronged me. My daughter sent me a very angry and vulgar text this fall, and I had no choice but to forgive her. The words still hurt, and the course of our relationship has significantly changed, but there’s nothing gained by holding a grudge.
It comes down to this – if you carry a grudge and cannot forgive, how can you expect forgiveness? Yes, the saying is “forgive but not forget”, but how is carrying a grudge part of forgiving? We’re all forgiven by God’s grace, and yet we still feel the need to not try and turn the other cheek.
It’s a new year – we all can agree that none of us will miss 2020….I’m choosing to look for the good in people, even the ones who have hurt me deeply. I wish no ill will on anybody, and I hope that others will continue to show compassion and forgiveness as well. It’s needed now more than ever.
And as appreciative as I am for being reminded by Otto’s mistake, I truly hope that forgiveness doesn’t end up going to the dogs.