Have you nothing to annoy you? My child, tell Me your annoyances, with every detail. Who has pained you? Who has wounded your self-love? Who has treated you contemptuously? Tell Me all, and then say that you forgive and forget; and I will give you My blessing.
We’ve just rounded the half-way mark in our 14 meditations before the Blessed Sacrament. I’m curious to hear your reactions, your feedback. Do they give you comfort? Make you think? Make you uncomfortable? I treasure hearing from each of you and learning what these meditations prompted for you.
In today’s eighth meditation we’re asked to search our hearts for annoyances. Hurts and pains that others might have caused us. Opportunities to forgive and forget and be blessed.
I’ve written recently about a situation in our family that we are still working to heal. And, I wrote a poem, Take My Anger, a while back in which I work through some “righteous rage” as I called it then.
But, I have so much to be grateful for and so little that pains me currently — thank You, Lord — that it feels awkward to speak of the few issues that might have once existed, ungrateful somehow for all the good fortune in my life. Even the most egregious offense toward me, which I describe here, was a blessing in so many ways.
I was raised by a mother whose first question almost always, when I told her of some offense that I felt I’d endured during my day, was, “Well, did you do anything, say something that might have caused that person to do that?” She (infuriatingly, at the time) always figured there were two sides to a story.
Similarly, one of my mother-in-law’s favorite sayings was, “There is never a coin so thin that there aren’t two sides.” She was quoting her mother.
Her son’s standby question for our children when they brought grievances home was, “Well, you have choices about how you’re going to feel, how you choose to react to this situation.”
Still, when we’re in the middle of a painful situation, most of us at some point want to defend our positions with righteous indignation. Some people get satisfaction from retaliation — responding to harm with harm — or by dreaming up verbal retorts filled with hurtful, sarcastic words.
But the sooner we’re able to give all our pain and anger and ‘righteous rage’ to God, to describe it as though it were a real live organism, to pull it out of ourselves, relinquish it and lay it at His feet, the sooner He can relieve us of its burden — whatever those reciprocating feelings are that build up in us — hate maybe, or helplessness or guilt or shame. He’ll take them all, if we’ll allow Him to, and He’ll help us begin to heal.