A New Spin On Forgiveness

I’m not so much into spring cleaning. I prefer a winter “sweep and cleanse”. This includes clearing out both material items that clutter the home space and spiritual stumbling blocks that clutter my heart and mind.

This January I have been thinking deeply on the concept of forgiveness and what it means to me.

Coming from an evangelical Christian tradition, I have always viewed extending and receiving forgiveness as something required in order to be in good standing with God –    “… and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us …”.

I have to admit, I have struggled with this concept over the last few years since I left my church. I now consider myself to be “spiritual but not religious”. That being said, I still love God, I still want to be faithful, and I still need peace within me. I recognize how vitally important forgiveness is to my spiritual health.

This morning I came to a bit of an epiphany, and I would like to share it. By way of illustration, I will use the experience I had of an unhappily ended friendship.

I once had a friendship with a woman which ended in disappointment for both of us.  Upon reflection, I wonder if our individual definitions of friendship differed greatly. Or, perhaps we simply had different ways of communicating. No matter how hard each of us tried (and we both did put in honest efforts) we could not seem to understand each other. In the end, I decided to cut off contact with this person for an indeterminate length of time. I felt I needed to do this for the emotional health of us both. She wrote to me and messaged me a few times, but I did not read what she had to say and I did not respond. At that point I simply felt too hurt and too vulnerable, and was going through some other challenging issues that I needed to prioritize and focus all of my energy on.

After about a year, this woman sent me a letter apologizing for anything she may have done to upset me. At that point, things had settled down in my life enough that I felt less vulnerable and was able to reply, telling her I held no resentment or anger against her, and I wished her well. I kept my reply brief and I did not leave an opening for a reconciliation of the relationship. I was content to leave things as they were. A little later I was comfortable to be in contact with her again, and unfortunately another misunderstanding erupted. At the end of the day, we have left each other on what I would consider to be extremely bad terms.

Which brings me to the forgiveness quandary.

Due to my evangelical Christian background, I am not content to leave a situation like this hanging without addressing the forgiveness issue. From my past church experience, I had been taught to view forgiveness as a kind of discharging of a debt. In other words, I commit a “sin” against someone, I owe them, they clear the debt. And in the same vein, someone commits a “sin” against me, they owe me, I clear the debt.

But this has never sat well with me. Especially lately. Here’s my thinking.

If I have the power to release someone from their debt, this seems to put me at a “higher” level than them. I’m not comfortable with that and this is why. I know that I am not perfect. I know that I have done things in my life that have hurt others. So how would it ever be that I would sit in a position of judgment wherein I have the right to pronounce someone free of their debt? And who is so perfect that they have a right to “release” me? Shouldn’t such a position be held solely by God? In fact, isn’t it?

To me the bottom line is this – we are all human, with flaws, bad days, bad moods, misinterpretations, disconnections, fatigue, errors in judgment, etc. Maybe the type of forgiveness God requires from us is to simply accept this.

Maybe forgiveness simply means that I acknowledge the other person’s right to be who they are, even if this does not please me. Now, this is not to say that forgiveness means I become a doormat. Absolutely not. It also includes accepting myself and my own right to live and speak my truth as well. I don’t have to be around anyone who, intentionally or unintentionally, hurts me, disrespects me, misunderstands me, etc. Let’s face it, some people are best loved from a distance. And we can acknowledge that. But it’s not healthy to live in resentment or bitterness either. In the case of my broken friendship, I have no desire to ruminate over who is ultimately at fault for the demise of the relationship. It does not matter anymore. What matters is I respect her right to live her own truth. I don’t wish her any harm. Actually, I wish her well. And now I can let the whole matter drop. Because in the final analysis, I know we are both just doing our best to live out our own destinies. I believe this applies to most everyone in the human race. We are all just pilgrims on a journey doing our best.

I have found peace in this.

mlk

For the Woman of a Certain Age – Le Maquiage

lise

As much as I hate to admit it … I have become a “woman of a certain age”!

Ugg! When did this happen?! Anyway, I can recall being twenty-something, and observing “women of a certain age”, and one thing I was certain of was I did not want to be the kind that obsessed over aging, who tried to look like a twenty-something when I clearly was not.

Which brings me here. It is the dawn of 2015 (not 1985 – YIKES) and I am on the threshold of a year long quest to look the best that I can AT THE AGE THAT I AM.

I do not aspire to look like a twenty or even thirty-something. I just want to look as good as possible at the age that I am and this process needs to be as natural as possible.

My first consultation was with Dr. Google. Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Antioxidants, this cream, that cream, eat this, eat that, this procedure and that procedure … uggg! What to do?

My initial thought was to work from the inside out. And this I am sure is the best idea. Hence more to come in future blogs (because I have done some AWESOME research!)

HOWEVER! On this lovely third day of January, I need a lift.

And then it happened … I caught my lovely 20-something daughter doing her make-up and countouring, etc. I commented: “That is lovely, but would not work for me. At my age, I need to be natural…”

She rolled her eyes: “Let me finish, and then I will show you …”

She, who needs no make-up transformed herself to become even more irresistible.

Then she turned to me. “Add a little of this green to these areas, the ones you feel are too red”. She used a brush to “paint” green over my nose and that dubious small area beside it, my upper lip, chin and just a touch of my forehead.

“I want to keep the blush on my cheeks – it’s natural”, I insisted.

She added a little whitish violet on the inner part of my eyes, by the nose (to make your eyes look a touch more widespread), a smidgeon under the arch of my eye-brow and an upward stroke by the outer edge of my eyes (“to give you a little lift”).

“I like my dark circles!”, I declared courageously. “They make me look natural, and busy, and like I have an interesting life …”

“Just a little touch of the yellow-beige to cover the darkness, ever so slightly”. She insisted. “Trust me! I will make it look natural.”

On a triangle sponge (she bought from the dollar store!), she squirted a little of my  foundation. “Just a bit to blend it all”.

“Do you have any powder?” she inquired. “Mine is translucent, but has highlights.” Apparently reflective highlights don’t work well with a “woman of a certain age”. I gave her my pressed, matte powder.”Yes, just a touch with a brush here and there”.

“And lipstick, lets make it fun!” She added a dollop of her own lovely red! Somethimes you CAN add a little youthful touch … “Voila! Now look! And in under 5 minutes! Totally natural!”

I looked. “Oh, my!” I look like myself, I look my age, but so ….

so…

actually kind of pretty!

I FEEL PRETTY!

It’s natural … but just a touch of … je ne sais pas … !”

So, my first tip on the journey to anti-aging for a woman of a certain age –

LE MAQUILLAGE!

Just a touch of make-up strategically placed in a manner that suits one’s age. Because, let’s face it, nothing contributes more to a woman’s attractiveness than her OWN FEELING of being attractive. It just adds that little spring to her step, that slight glow to her face.

So, today’s tip on looking the best you can at a “certain age” … revamp your make-up routine! Go to a professional, to a cosmetic counter, or, if you are really lucky, to your 20-something irresistible daughter, and find something that truly suits your style, skin and birthdate.

Today’s product! Lise Watier Portfolio.

http://www.beautezine.com/lise-watier-portfolio-correctors-review-photos-swatches/