My hopes for this on-again, off-again blog always center around it becoming a resource – a place to learn, exchange thoughts, maybe even be inspired. These are lofty goals for my measly thoughts, but we always have Annie!! Lift us up Annie!!
Anywho, here’s my deep subject for today: Have you ever been shunned by a family member? Because let me tell you, being shunned is the worst.
I’ll admit that I absolutely hate it when people share what they learned from a difficult experience but refuse to give the details. I mean, what’s the point really?
But I’m going to sort of do that here, what with the expansive nature of the Internet and all.
What I can share are my own foibles! And that's info, right? So, here we go:
Last summer, I opened my big mouth and spoke out of turn about a family member. And because I live a charmed life, that judge-y statement made it back to the people I’d judged. When I found out that my terrible nature had (at long last) been exposed, I felt horrible. The tattle-talers had not represented me well. For sure, the re-telling was intended to cause hurt, but I cannot deny that I talked about someone else behind their back. And any way you look at it, that’s just wrong. I was wrong. I freely admit it.
With the knowledge of my wrong-doing clutched tightly in my heart, I girded up my loins and went over to the offendees home to offer up a sincere apology. I really psyched myself up to not get into the particulars, to not equivocate – just apologize. I was genuinely sorry, and I wanted them to know that. I wanted them to know that I loved them and valued our relationship. I did my very best to convey those sentiments. Even now, as I try to evaluate my actions as objectively as possible (is that even possible?), I can unabashedly state that my apology was heart-felt.
I left that day thinking that we could all move on.
But I was sorely mistaken.
Over the next few weeks, the news came to me in drips and drabs that they had not found my apology sincere – that my sin was more grievous than the apology could cover. And still later I learned that there were hard feelings going back for years. I hadn’t been friendly enough at certain family functions. I had not nurtured relationships in the manner expected. My efforts, in their eyes, just flat weren’t enough.
Maybe those accusations are true? I don’t know. Certainly, my failures weren’t intentional. And I could type you up a list of ways I thought I was extending the hand of friendship. But what good would that do?
It’s now been over eight months since the shunning began. There has been extremely limited contact. I’ve re-issued the original apology, much like you’d re-enter a once-denied credit card number. If I just type these Same. Numbers. More. Carefully. This darn thing will work. I’m sure a bigger, more loving person could somehow stop it, could throw enough love and generosity into the mix to MAKE IT STOP. But my little, stingy heart is too hurt. It cowers in the corner.
I don’t think you’ll probably find my take-away on this situation inspirational. But maybe you might find it comforting, that is if you find yourself in the position where you can’t control someone else (the absolute bane of my existence). So here goes:
I can’t change the actions or feelings or thoughts of another person. I can only learn from my mistakes and work on bettering myself. I can’t be responsible for the happiness of others (although I’d like to contribute where I can). I also can’t make other people responsible for my happiness. I can only work on me and take responsibility for myself. As my Maddie would say, “You be you, Mom.” So, this me is working to relinquish the bad juju of this situation. I can’t feel sad much longer. I’m going to have to release those feelings into the wind, point my face in the direction of the sun, and move myself along.
Because what else is there to do?
So, yes -- rather a heavy topic as I re-enter the Nest & Launch waters. But fear not! I'm happy and healthy and ready to share things like . . . how to make watermelon boats and strawberry popsicles and to dream with you over my plan to relocate our empty nest (once it's actually empty, of course) to NYC!! Stay tuned.