Path to Healing

This is the 1st time one of my #B4Peace entries has been late. My apologies go out to Kozo and the rest of you for the lack of punctuality. I have been extremely ill the last few days due to catching a nasty flu while caring for my son (who has also been ill). I hope the following will make up for it.

During the month of February we were asked deal with any pent up resentment, shame, or anger towards a particular family member. I’m going to go there but, I ask that you respect my need to keep that family member anonymous.

B4Peace

Dear Anonymous,

I wish that you could see me; I mean truly see me sometimes. You tend to make a judgment call with the best of intentions but, you fail to realize that your words hurt. Even after many others (including professionals) have told you that you need to change your approach, you tend to use words and phrases that sting.

You know that I am sensitive – you’ve known this the entire span of my life so far. All that I ask is that if you have advice to offer – try to be mindful of my feelings.

When I go to you for help, it’s not to be a burden on you. Sometimes, I simply have nowhere else to turn. My parents are gone. This is a pain you and I know all too well. So, when I come to you, try to imagine that I’m looking for you to fill that space that my parents left. I know that I’m a grown woman. You need not remind me. Still, I am somewhat young. I lack the guidance that most people take for granted.

I love you regardless of your flaws. I am a friend to you. Although there are times you’ve caused me great pain, there are also times you’ve brought me tremendous joy. I’m glad you were there when I graduated, when so many others weren’t.

You need to know when I respond undesirably, it’s because something you said hurt. I don’t hate you. I never have. Even when I was at my worst and you couldn’t stomach me, I still loved you. I was simply broken.

Someday I may read this to you, or maybe not. Maybe it will just fade with me when I go, but somehow, I know it will reach you.

Let go of it all, please, because I have, and it’s freeing. Don’t let it all tie you down. You deserve better.

Sincerely,

J

This was my entry for the Monthly Peace Challenge: We Are Family

Other Brave Souls:

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Dance, Dance

Grace. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of the many friends I’ve made through Bloggers for Peace. This group is full of so many talented, kind, and loving people. I’m grateful to have met each and every one of you. I’d also like to thank Rarasaur for pointing me in Kozo‘s direction. It’s because of her I’ve gotten the chance to share and build with all of you.

It’s been a spectacular year and although I don’t have a traditional party planned, I did things the best way I know how. Through art and words. I give you…

Party

Party

To me it represents all of us coming together like one magnificent dance.

Gifts of Growth
With the year now behind us
Before we’ve truly begun
I’m anxious to tell you
That we all have won.

We’ve grown inside and you see it.
What a sight it is when we shine.
I hope it stays like this forever.
The gift is not just mine.

This has been part of the Monthly Peace Challenge: Party On, Garth for December. I couldn’t be prouder of all of the Bloggers for Peace. May you all have a peaceful New Year.

A Happier Thanksgiving

When this month’s Peace Challenge was first announced, a few of us froze a bit. After all, it is a difficult task to forgive, let alone “love thy enemy”. I had two sets of enemies in mind, but neither one I am quite ready to love. One raped me, and the other destroyed something I worked hard to build. Then, the solution hit me like a speeding train.

For quite some time, my family and I have been in conflict. This happens in spurts, but it seems to happen constantly. Inexplicably, these quarrels seem to occur more frequently during the holidays. A lot of times, it’s directed at me. Sometimes, it’s not – but I always get pulled in somehow.

Just a few days ago, one of these conflicts arose. My grandfather and I got into a heated argument over the phone. I can assure you I was not in the wrong. In fact, I called just to vent about something (which I often do) and it was taken as if I pleaded for advice. We’ve always had trouble with miscommunication in the past. For a second, I felt like the 5 year old me on the other end of the phone. He threw a lot of hurtful words my way. As the conversation ended…I felt my eyes welling up and in a broken voice, said goodbye.

Later, I called back with the intention of making peace. Even though I knew I wasn’t in the wrong, I know all too well that life is too short to stay angry forever. The phone rang and rang, but there was no answer. After feeling depressed about the whole thing for most of the day, my feelings slowly turned into anger. Anger about being mistreated, anger about past hurt, anger about the piercing insults that were so easily thrown my way, and anger that I let this get to me.

The next day, I cancelled the plans for Thanksgiving in my head. I cancelled the plans for our weekend visits and I cancelled the daily phone calls to see how each other were fairing. Somehow, in the haze of anger, I had a revelation. Even though there was so much animosity toward me through childhood and beyond, I need to let it go. Not only did I need to forgive this minor incident but I need to let go of any bitterness I was holding onto. What Kozo described in the Monthly Peace Challenge for November flashed through my head. So did many other things Kozo has said to me throughout the course of our friendship and I knew this would be perfect.

Empty Chairs
Empty Chairs

I need to let go. I need to just let the past be the past and truly love what I thought was my first enemy. My own immediate family, the one I had before the one I helped to create.  They may be guilty of much damage to my psychological health, but I’m an adult now. I’m responsible for mending those wounds, not them. I need to love them for who they are regardless of anything that has happened or will happen. Especially because, there are not many of them left. I’m reminded of this every time I set flowers on a grave. Every time I see the empty chairs at the Thanksgiving table, a part of me aches. We need to let go of so much to get by in this life  and yet, some things are worth holding on to. Family, no matter how broken, is worth trying to fix. I’ve seen this proven time and time again. So yes, Kozo…I will love my enemy, even when it’s hard, and even when it hurts. I know now because it stings more to see those empty chairs.

Other Brave Souls

Dream On, Dreamer

I know it was announced last week that CardCastlesInTheSky will only have Sunday posts until January 2014, but there had to be an exception today for two reasons.

  • #B4Peace
  • Halloween

The Monthly Peace Challenge for October called for an imagining of our world as peaceful. Being a parent, this stirred up thoughts of our children. My uncle, a retired law-enforcement officer, is now running for the Board of Education in his district. Sadly, one of the issues that came up in the interviews during the “Meet the Candidates” meeting was guns in schools. It’s a little unsettling that we have to talk about this, but this is our world now. You can watch that video below. His name is Gerald Bruno, and I am very proud to call him family.

Meet the Candidates

This is what a peaceful world would look like to me.

Peaceful Dream

The world is quiet now

It is free of strong sorrow

Severe pain

The children run and laugh and play

Love stretches to every corner

Every niche

Boundless

We are free to roam outside

Wherever

Whenever

However

 

If our world was completely free of pain I’d dream it sounded something like that. Maybe someday. One can dream, right?

Other Peaceful Dreamers:

Caron Eastgate Dann – If everyone in the world did this…

Goldfish – A Lesson in Peace

 

Like Pieces of Glass…

Movie Quotes, The Green Mile
The first time I saw The Green Mile I cried like a baby during the scene this quote is from. Everyone always asks me why I don’t cry at the end & what is it about this part that sends me into a blubbering mess.

The answer is simple. I relate to what the character of John Coffey is saying. I’ve felt the exact same way my entire life. It’s something I’m powerless to change. Yet, I hope someday, together, maybe we all could. That might be part of the reason I said “yes” to the whole Bloggers for Peace movement when my good friend, Rarasaur recommended it to me.

It gets me every single time.

This post is part of the Monthly Peace Challenge: Quote This. I’m proud to be one of the first few Bloggers for Peace. Now, as we slowly draw to our last quarter, we stand as a colossal group. I’m grateful to know all of you. I’ve made some lasting friendships with a lot of you. There will always be a corner of my heart that shares your struggles and rejoices when you triumph. Love fully and always. If you need a shoulder to cry on, you know where to reach me.

Other Moving Quotes

♥ In Loving Memory of Michael Clarke Duncan ♥