Have you ever felt so completed consumed by an event that you are wholly immobilized by it? You can’t really think clearly, your body feels all jello-y, your stomach twists, and you literally cannot function at all? It is as though your body is on ‘save’ mode and all of your voluntary actions are suspended while the event is permanently stored in your memory, moment by moment.
I wish that such unforgettable events were only good ones…and I am blessed to say that I have had many good ones. But the bad ones…even though you are not consciously remembering the sounds, the smells, the colors around you….everything from that moment is forever imprinted on your heart, your senses, and your subconscious mind. And some day in the future, when you are having a perfectly good day, you may hear, see or smell something and be transported right back to that terrible moment instantly.
When you read those words, did all kinds of bad memories pop up? If so, I apologize. My intent is not to ruin your day by rehashing bad memories—those so bad that you have a permanent physiological response to them. Rather, my intent is to question whether or not we can ever exorcise those calamities from our souls and if not, should we be judged for their existence?
Let’s say, for example, that you are a divorcee. Your divorce occurred because you discovered texts that your husband was sending to another woman, indicative of an affair between them. Now, you’ve remarried, and your husband seems completely enamored with a text conversation he’s having. Does that previous situation come rearing its ugly head making you ask insecure questions like, “Who are you talking to? About what?” Worse yet, do you get that jello-y body, twisty stomach feeling while you are observing and asking? Of course, this husband will accuse you of judging him for the sins of the previous guy.
Or perhaps you have a loved one who has hurt you deeply in the past, but because of that love, you’ve chosen to block the memory (maybe several memories) from your mind. And when the repeat of the previous actions occur (as they inevitably will because people are who they are), you are transported back to the original event so completely that it feels as if both violations just now occurred. Of course, that loved one will accuse you of holding grudges.
We are just people, and people get hurt. We are not trying to judge anyone or hold grudges. The rush of memories and feelings are beyond our control. Nobody wants to hold onto memories like that, but our bodies have their own built in defense mechanisms which we can’t control. Anyone who has been betrayed and gambles on a relationship a second time, is an optimist. They are not someone who is living in the past but rather trying to paint a better tomorrow. And forgiving a loved one who had caused you pain so deep that it is permanently etched in your being, is an act of faith and hope…the opposite of grudge holding.
Since we all have experienced these unforgettable moments, can we try to be more understanding when they rear their ugly heads?
I have always thought that ‘defensiveness’ tells you everything you need to know. After all, if you care about someone and they tell you they hurt, shouldn’t that matter to you? We do it with children. If a child gets up in the morning and tells you they had a bad dream and then says accusingly, “I called for you but you didn’t come!” we don’t say, “Well, it’s not my fault you had a bad dream!” Rather, we would say how sorry we are that they had a bad dream and even sorrier that we didn’t hear them call out. It would hurt us that they hurt. Shouldn’t we extend that same compassion to the grownups in our lives?
No matter how old we are, there is a child inside who is saying, “please love me and make me feel safe in that love.” With the crazy busy lives we lead, that can be a tall order, but not an impossible one.
It is such a slippery slope when we judge others, and nothing good can come of it in our lives. There was a time, when if someone said the word ‘karma’ to me, I would have laughed and thought of it as superstition. My mother had her own way of describing it; she said that God would teach you everything you needed to know in your lifetime, and how much you suffer is dependent upon how quickly you forgive. And then, of course, we have the good old ‘Lords Prayer’ which specifically tells us “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
No matter how it is presented to us, the truth remains the same. We are all people who will make mistakes and hope to be forgiven, live through crises that leave a permanent mark and perhaps [inadvertently] leave our own permanent mark upon someone else, yearn for love and give love too. There is no good place for ‘judgment’ in anyone’s life.
Think of what could happen if we used judgment as a circumspection only, and we turned any discrimination to empathy so that we could really see and listen with a compassionate heart. Things are rarely as straightforward as they appear to be…there is usually a whole lot of history and a completely different point of view behind those actions.
As I read back over this blog, I’m not sure I actually shared the point I had originally hoped to share…it seems I got a bit sidetracked along the way, but in a good way. Through my writing, I think I resolved something within myself that desperately required resolution. I hope my babbling makes some sense, and possibly mend a heart or two as well.
“Imagine living your life without judging others. You can easily forgive others and let go of any judgments that you have. You don’t have the need to be right, and you don’t need to make anyone else wrong. You respect yourself and everyone else, and they respect you in return.”
― Miguel Ruiz