The chapter I am reading now is about giving grace to those who give me grief. This is a huge deal in my life right now. My ex-husband, whether he is doing it on purpose or not, gives me so much grief. From being stupid and wrecking every vehicle he drives to putting me down to not lifting a finger for his kids’ needs… It can be so frustrating for me at times. We were married for over seven years before I decided I’d had enough and filed for divorce. I’ve been so relieved by such a choice, despite the strains that come with my decision.Despite being divorced, however, we came to the agreement that we would stay living together since we were in a lease together and neither of us wanted to pay or break the lease. In hindsight, that was a mistake on my part. So much stress and arguing came after. I’ve bent over backwards for him. Let him call the shots with several of the divorce points, kept him in the loop with what I am doing, was even still doing his laundry and making his dinners. And to him… it was like I was still under his control. If I didn’t hang his shirts straight out the dryer, he yelled at me. If his plate wasn’t made in the fridge when he woke up, he complained. I started dating someone else. And this guy kept telling me to stand up. To stop doing for the ex. Stop letting him use me as his doormat. I made excuses. Let’s face the facts – I’m too nice to even my enemies. I let people walk all over me. I claim that it’s my southern upbringing that drives me to be kind and that my religious upbringing has instilled in me the thought of “turning the other cheek” every time someone does me wrong. We are to forgive 70 x 70 times, right? Does this mean I take abuse every time? No. Does it mean I have never stood up for myself and for others? No. In the past couple of years, I have grown a strong backbone again. I have established my dominate side. I know what I want. I know how to get it. And I’m not letting anyone get in my way anymore. Well… I get in my own way at times, but that is another story.
So getting back into the book, Facing Your Giants. I came across this statement, “Once again, we think about the purveyors of pain in our own lives. It’s one thing to give grace to friends, but to give grace to those who give us grief? Could you? Given a few uninterrupted moments with the Darth Vader of your days, could you imitate David?” (pg. 46)My Darth Vader, my Saul, my Timothy McVeigh – he destroys my happiness, he seeks to kill my joys in his jealous rage, he blows up my plans for a better future. I can’t begin to count the times that I have thought, why? Why are you like this? Why do you do these things to me? Why are you so evil? I tell him that I don’t care how he feels. I don’t care what happens to him in the future. But I still wash his clothes. I still buy him food. Or grab printer paper when I’m doing my shopping. To some people, I’m too patient. I’m too nice. According to some, I should slip something into his food and drinks. Maybe I should put something on his clothes to give him an uncomfortable feeling. Will I do this? Most likely no. I want to. Not gonna lie. I want him to feel something of what I feel on a daily basis when he is around. But I won’t do anything. Its not me. I smile to my enemies. I might scare them with that smile, but it’s still a smile. The next thing that this passage of the book says is this, “Some people are graced with mercy glands. They secrete forgiveness, never harboring grudges or reciting their hurts.” Call me arrogant, but I think this is me. I don’t hold the past against anyone. I will never hold your mistakes against you when my own haunt me. We are human and our mistakes are how we learn and grow. And I am growing my patience daily with my ex .
There is one thing I want to point out though. Some people think I hold grudges because I cut people off. I block them from my personal life. Well, they are wrong. There is one thing I have learned over the years – forgive as you are forgiven, but don’t stand there and take the same abuse for the rest of your life. That saying “turn the other cheek”, for me, means that you can hurt me once and I will forgive you and let you try again. You can hurt me again once I’ve turned my other cheek to you. But after this second hurt, you will be forgiven and let go. I won’t stand there switching cheeks for continual abuse. You can tell when someone is truly learning from their mistakes. When they genuinely want to change and be the better person. They will do everything they can to never fall into that pattern again. Not everyone is like this. And you have to step up and say enough is enough. You have tried, you have forgiven. Now it is time to move on. And that is what I do. You can keep making your mistakes. But you won’t be making them towards me anymore. I am fiercely loyal to friends and family. I will lay down my life for those I hold dear. Stay on that side of the line and I will be with you until the end. Cross that line and you will lose me forever.This is who I am. I will show mercy and forgiveness. I will continue to grow and try to be stronger against those that cause me pain. But I promise there will be times when I will be a pushover and someone will use me. It is going to happen. Have patience with me. I’m still just a diamond in the rough. Look past my rocky outside to find the gem inside that shines like ice but is still fragile.