The Holidays and Heartache

Christmas, Hanukkah, Christian and Islamic New Years

Merry Christmas, Eight nights of joy, wishing you a year full of goodness

Peace, Shalom, As-Salamu Alaykum

Tis the season for family and joy……and some heartache. November, December and part of January are accompanied by celebrations in which a smile is worn on the face and an ache silently and privately is carried within the heart. For many, wherever there is family there is a mixture of joy and sadness on special occasions.

We are here at the International Forgiveness Institute, and at theinstitution of our first blog post, to let you know that there is a cause for great hope when the heart is aching. Forgiveness, of course, is no cure- all, but it is better in some ways than the heartburn medicine or headache remedies that are downed like water and food during the holiday season. Perhaps this is the year that you will take the following resolution seriously: I pledge to myself and to others on this site that I will take the first step to mend one broken relationship in my family or circle of friends. I will do my part to mend the broken heart of one member of my group.

How do you do that?

First, we recommend that you see your part in that one person’s broken heart. Have you contributed to his or her wounds? If so, make that resolution to go to the other with a warm heart and offer an apology for….well….whatever it is that you said or did. We recommend that you approach this courageous task with deep and gentle humility. After all, this is a holiday season when nerves are a bit more on edge, fatigue comes washing in upon us more readily, and our patience is thinner despite the warm words said and received. Therefore, expect some surprise from the other person. He or she may not be ready to receive your gift of apology. If this is the case, please try to bear their surprise, their ambivalence, their outright ignoring with a gentle strength. Your bearing up under the other person’s lack of readiness is yet another gift you can give this year—-not only to him or her but to others as you do not let your disappointment come rolling out of you to them. Rest in the knowledge that you have done a courageous, loving thing—-to bring peace.

Second, we recommend that you start one small process of forgiving one person in your close circle. Chose a person who has hurt you and choose to give him or her one gift this year—the gift of mercy wrapped up as forgiveness. Try to see him or her in a true context, as a person, someone who is unique, special, and irreplaceable. Someone who, like you, may be wounded inside. Someone who, like you, needs love in the heart. Be a love giver now, even if it is a struggle, even if you are apprehensive. Forgiveness quietly reaches out in this kind of ambivalence because it is strong. The love of forgiveness is stronger than any injustice that anyone has ever given to you. You might find that as you pledge to heal another person, the gift waiting for you is your own emotional healing as well.

It is time to love. It is time to love through forgiveness. Take the first step and let us know how it is going or how it went for you. We are here to listen and to help.

Peace, Shalom, As-Salamu Alaykum