Today has been quite the day for our Blue family. There is some serious upheaval in our county regarding local law enforcement. I don't want to talk about the specifics today (feel free to google it), but, it has given me some pretty heavy things to think about.
So, I'm going to tell a story that I'm not particularly proud of. However, I think it is a story worth sharing.
Some years ago, Sam and I dealt with a group of people who did not like our family. People not liking someone is pretty much a universal thing, but this group got pretty ugly about it and when things finally came to a head, Sam and I felt forced to remove ourselves from any possible interaction from this group so we could just move on and not have that negativity pressing down on us.
As we got some distance from the situation, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could have handled things better. I struggled with blaming myself to feeling defensive and angry because my family had suffered most of the consequences of this situation, even though the other people involved had said and done things that really are not okay to say or do. As time went by, I found myself struggling to forgive, and the offenses got bigger in my eyes and my anger grew. I found myself more and more bitter over the fact that these people were out there laughing at me and my family, talking about us, and just being unpleasant, even though we had removed ourselves from their circles. It felt like they just kept picking on us and I wanted them to leave us alone. I became angrier with the situation and my feelings evolved into me wanting them to suffer like they had made me suffer. I started really focusing on how much I wanted to see some justice dealt to those who I knew had been dishonest and unkind. I would angrily ask God why he wasn't treating these people the way they deserved, why I had been forced to start over and go through the embarrassment and hurt, but they got to strut around town like they were better than everyone else. I wished I could do something to bring them to justice. But, I couldn't, so, instead, I just stewed and thought my angry, vengeful thoughts.
Then, one day, some people from that group did suffer consequences. It happened rather quietly at first, but, when it all went down, justice was swift and incredibly public. Everyone knew about it.
You'd think I would have been dancing in the streets, right? I expected feel so vindicated and happy.
But, I wasn't.
I cried and mourned for these people. I couldn't understand it, but I just felt so sorry for them. I felt as if I was suffering right there alongside them! Why? They were horrible to me. They were horrible to others. The consequences that came down were just and correct and many people said they got what they deserved.
But, I knew how they had to be feeling. The mortification, the fear, the hopelessness. I knew that the actions they had committed would never fully leave them, that it would negatively affect them, and their family for the rest of their lives. I knew what people would say about them, how others would treat them. I understood, that, while they had mistreated me, what they were going through was far worse than any pain they had ever inflicted on my family. I actually didn't want them to suffer like that.
What I thought would be the best day of my life, was such a sorrowful time. I realized that hoping for others to suffer misfortune makes me ugly, and I didn't want to be ugly. Not like that. I realized that hoping for others to suffer just isn't the life I want to live. I'd rather get hurt sometimes, but still wish good upon others, even when they don't "deserve" it. My life got a lot happier when I learned that lesson. I will forever be grateful to that group of people for teaching me such an important truth.
I know there are many people who have been hurt and offended and even mistreated by what has happened in our county. I understand those angry feels and the desire for revenge.
But, speaking as someone who knows, it isn't worth it to stay in that negative place. All things come full circle. The universe will make things right when it is time. Our job is not to hold the grudge. It is to forgive and reach out to help someone up when they fall.
Around that time, I found this song. I love it.
I sincerely hope those who are hurting will find some peace and forgiveness in Jefferson County. I hope we can always try to be kinder than we feel. It isn't easy and I know I struggle at it more than I care to admit, but, I believe in all of us.