I am a firm believer that everything we take part of has a valuable lesson, even if it is something we only witness. It may not always be apparent right away; we may have to step back and evaluate to see the meaning.
Watching Joe Harrison get slammed up against a locker in sixth grade at the old Marshall school gave an entire class one of those lessons. Never, ever disrespect Mr. Temple in any way. It could be your last mistake. There will be a few of you reading this that also have learned this lesson.
As I am sure most of you have, my wife, Mary Jean, and I started watching the series “Yellowstone”. It is very easy to get hooked on. Granted, a lot of it no one with morals should ever see, but nevertheless, we do. It’s kind of like a modern-day version of “Dallas” with Kevin Costner as JR Ewing. There are several characters that come and go throughout the series. And yes, there is a lot of drama. It’s about a wealthy family of ranchers/cowboys out West and all of them lead very complex lives with events that we would never face. Somehow, they always prevail. The power, money and influence seem to get them in and out of trouble each week. The dad keeps a very busy life keeping his middle-aged kids out of harm’s way.
In one scene his daughter, Beth, and her husband, Rip, were in the bedroom talking. Beth had been up most of the night worrying and fretting over events in the past that upset her terribly. Rip made the mistake most all husbands make by asking what was wrong. About every guy has made that blunder. Her response was that she was awakened during the night about memories. He asked if they were good or bad. She responded that good ones usually don’t wake you up. She then asked if that ever happened to him. Rip’s response was very profound to me.
Rip then said, “I don’t give much thought to yesterday. I only think about right now, and tomorrow.”
Beth responded, “Yesterday is what eats me.”
He said it does most everybody, that’s why he doesn’t give it much thought.
That seems like a fantastic code to live by. Don’t even think about yesterday. Forget about it. Now, I am not talking about forgetting about touching the stove again that burnt you. I am talking about forgetting the things that were said or done in passing that may have hurt us. Forgetting that the server was having a bad day and didn’t treat us as well as we thought they should have. Forgetting what happened 10, 20, 30 years ago — things we can’t get over. In a nutshell, I guess I am talking about that word — forgiveness.
We have all heard the phrase, “I can forgive, but I will never forget.” That’s not forgiveness. To truly forgive, we must also forget.
Think about this. Our pets completely forgive in minutes. As do our children. Why do we struggle doing the same? We can agree that we should forgive, unless we are the ones that must do the work. Like, “well you must understand, this was big, too much to ever let slide. Even if I must harbor it for decades until I die, I won’t forgive this one.”
That does nothing more than make the victim lead a miserable life. Even if it is never asked for, we must do the work needed. It’s for us anyway. Our forgiveness is not for the other party at all.
Several years ago I heard the best definition that is profound, yet so simple. Forgiveness is: Me giving up my right to hurt you back. In no way do I think that we ever set ourselves up to be hurt again, but if others or even ourselves need it, we must forgive and forget.
Rip was dead on target.
Don’t give yesterday much thought.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.