Somewhere in the literature it says something like “resentment is the number one offender” when it comes to our character defects. Well I’ve always resented that! It seems to me like something written by men for men about men. I have not been a terribly resentful person through my life. I find fear to be the bigger one for me, with depression coming in second. I understand that they are all different tributaries of the same river of dysfuntion. I have mostly been able to forgive the wrongs that have been done to me, and usually when someone lets me down I can remember that they are “also sick and often wrong.”
I chose to write about resentment today because I am resentful regarding a specific situation in my life. This situation is unique in my world, and along with resentment I’ve experienced feeling like a victim of injustice for really the first time in a big way. I don’t know what makes this different or what about me is different at this time that causes or allows me to feel resentment and injustice. It is partly those feelings that have driven me to do all this contemplating about being an oldtimer and how my attitude and outlook have yet to change sufficiently.
The resentment of the day concerns a dear friend I worked with as a partner for six years. A year and a half ago, we got a new boss that my friend couldn’t get along with, and she left. Through much awfulness in which it seems like the dark side really did triumph, new boss had to leave. That was almost exactly a year ago, and my friend will be coming back to be my partner again 363 days after new boss left. I’ve been doing the job alone for a year and a half that I will share again starting Monday. Resetment, injustice and sadness, plus the anniversary, are throwing me down into the emotional pit.
So, what have I learned through the years to help me be happy, joyous and free, and to have a faith that works under any conditions, and to be serene and serve God and my fellow human beings?
This too shall pass. Yes, the bad feelings I am feeling will not dominate my emotional landscape forever more.
Just like me, people are also sick and often wrong. As much as it feels to me like the forces of evil have triumphed, I have to remember that I can’t see the whole picture. It is possible that God has a plan I can’t see. It’s also possible that I am wrong, and they are right, or that, more likely, we are both right and wrong.
There are people worse off than me. Billions of them. This tragedy is not a tragedy. None of the people I feel I have lost are truly lost to me. Actually, I could call them right now and they would answer and talk to me and be with me if I need them to. I’m healthy (as far as I know) and I have everything I need today. Lots more than I need, and it has always been so. One of the analogies I use at work is to remember people who have hideous jobs. I’ve seen meat workers on TV, and when things get tough at work I remind myself and others that it’s still so much better than working on a chicken gutting assembly line. I admire people who work under those and other difficult circumstances, and I have to remember how easy I really do have it.
Time to grow? So often it takes adversity to make me stretch and grow. It takes extreme emotional pain to make me become entirely ready to have God remove my defects. Heck, it takes pain just to get me to pay attention to them for any amount of time. If I do the right thing through this experience, growth is about assured.