Writing a memoir forces you to journey back to a period long ago. A vivid memory of learning my spelling words came to mind. My mother had a mantra: Say it – Spell it – Say it again. So I would write the word, say it aloud and spell it and then say the word again. This evening, while out taking my evening walk, I thought about Forgiveness and a mantra I could devise for my readers and forgiveness advocates like me and I came up with this: Forgive – Learn – Move On.
Forgiveness is not easy, I know. Yet, in order for this world to improve, we really need to learn how to Forgive – Learn – Move On. Several years ago, a distant family member called me out of the blue. I guess I should have known she wanted something, because she never called me….not ever. From time to time, I would reach out to her, but like I said – she never reciprocated. Caller ID was not on that particular phone, so when I answered I simply said, “Hello.” She said, “Hi Sabrina, this is [her name]. How are you?” My eyebrow raised and I responded with a hesitant, “Hello, to what do I owe this call?” A pregnant pause… and then a sneaky laugh — from her. I knew she wanted something. And she did. She went on to explain her need for money to pay for her daughter’s college tuition, with suspension from school being the alternative. “Really,” I responded. Well, honestly I do empathize for the student and for her. I explained to her that my mortgage payment was due on a certain date and therefore reimbursement had to be made by a certain date. In good faith, I paid the tuition. Her daughter has since graduated and I have yet to receive reimbursement. That was in 2007.
We’ve all been burned at one time or another by someone who promised they would do something and did not; borrowed money and never paid it back (that’s one reason why a promissory note should be presented and signed off on – – and you don’t lend money to family, just give it to them, not expecting to be paid back).
There was a long period, a couple of years to be exact, that I was really psst’d off about this situation. I had to tap into my savings for my mortgage payment that month. Then one day, I was clearing out some old papers and found the credit card statement the tuition payment was made with. When I saw it, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I could literally feel my blood pressure rising. I said to myself, “Sabrina, you are still angry about this money. Is it worth your health? Is it worth your happiness?” I answered myself with this: no, it’s not worth it. I’m done with it. I held up my end of the request; she did not and she will have to live with that for the rest of her life. I forgive her.
Okay, so I forgave her and what did I learn? I learned her untruth is not my reality; it is not going to control my emotions. I appreciate the lessons: trust and listen to my initial instinct (inner voice); lend money only with a signed promissory note.
Forgive. Learn. Move On.
There has been no communication from her since she “asked and received” the money; and I really don’t expect to ever hear from her again. I’ve moved on with my life, adding this scenario to the encyclopedia of lessons I learn daily. I continue to dole out forgiveness and receive forgiveness regularly and often.
I smile, too (literally), whenever this memory pops up, because it reminds me how greatly I have grown from the experience.
Test your own “Forgiveness Quotient” with this quick test from Lifehack and share your insights in the comments below.