“I just spoke to your brother. He doesn’t understand why you won’t speak to him. He says he’s not upset with you.”
“Of course he’s not upset with me!” I replied to my mother, “I’m not the one who did anything wrong. He’s the one who wronged me!”
When you jump into a cold pool, at first the temperature is unbearable; but after just a short period of time, you get used to the temperature and can endure the situation with relative ease. But by the time I was 18 years old, I had little ease dealing with the shenanigans of my relative and decided to cut my brother out of my life.
I felt right to cut him out. Just because he’s family, that doesn't mean he has a free pass to treat me however he wants. And just like jumping into a cold pool, it didn’t take long to get used to not having him in my life.
But after five years of the silent treatment, and not long after our grandmother died, I started to wonder who the grudge was really hurting.
Him or me?
Or perhaps our mother?
“What if he died?” I wondered. “Would I still feel right about the silent treatment?”
Perhaps it was time to give forgiveness a try.
When the 10 million people of the Incan Empire were conquered by only a few hundred Spanish conquistadors in 1572, the general population didn’t hold a grudge. Instead, they accepted their situation as “what was done.” Like jumping into a cold pool, within a relatively short period of time they got used to the “turning over of time and space.” This “turning over” is a situation they referred to as pachakuti—an epoch-changing event they believed was supposed to happen periodically through the ages.
Forgiveness can be hard—especially when you feel justified in your grudge—yet picking up hot coals to throw at others will do far more harm to you than the person they are intended for. Perhaps, like the Incas, it was time for me to accept what was done, give forgiveness a try, and turn over a new leaf of time and space.
I did eventually forgive my brother, setting myself free to experience the joy of the present and empowered with the understanding that to err is human and to forgive is divine. After all, he is my brother, and when he is gone, he will be gone—and I am my brother’s keeper.
What grudge are you holding? What might you do to put down the poison, forgive, and turn over a new leaf of time and space?
I'm a mirror (and so are you).