Friday, February 22, 2013

A Novel Idea

Drama was getting ready to unfold, I could feel it in my bones. Or, rather, I could hear the argument between my son and his friend escalating, my son's voice rising with every syllable. "I. Can't. DO IT!" he exploded, then ran up the stairs, tears in his eyes. I debated whether to pull the mom card and diffuse the situation right away, but decided against it, waiting to see what happened.

A few minutes later, my daughter and her friend appeared at the top of the steps, Peer Mediator hats on, ready to spring into action (just to help, as I'm sure the drama wasn't drawing them in in the least.).  Apparently, in his anger, my son had tackled his friend.

A few minutes later, my son emerged, sour look on his face. I took the opportunity while he was alone to go over some basic rules (we do not tackle our friends when we are angry), discussed a healthier way to express anger, and sent him back downstairs to apologize to his friend. A few minutes after that, they came up together, all smiles, and asked for a snack.

Mug shot? Or irritated I'm taking his picture when he's irritated?

I rarely get over anything that quickly. I tend to get mad, then over-analyze, get mad some more, talk to my husband, my sister, and my friends, think through every comeback that I wish I had said but didn't, then hold a grudge for at least 10 days. And even at that point, I may or may not be over the infraction.

And the sad truth is, after all that self-imposed show business, I'm still as fired-up as I was before.

But what if I could forgive as easily as those boys did today?

It's not as easy as they make it look, but I think they just might be onto something. Instead of doing all of the above and ruining their afternoon, they decided to get over it as quickly as possible so they could enjoy the rest of their playdate. A novel idea.

When I choose to forgive, it's not saying that the infraction was okay. But I am choosing to let go so that I can go ahead and enjoy the rest of my afternoon, my day (and the next 10 days I would have originally spent holding a grudge). My own soul is off the hook. I'm not letting bitterness take root in my heart. I'm free. Free to live-joyfully--instead of remaining a prisoner inside a cell of my own making.

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