Gran's Apple Butter Blog

September 6, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Circles (6/XI)

Chapter 6 – Circles

In all our relationships, whether constant companion, family member, or momentary hitchhiker, there are a few helpful things to keep in mind.

Number One: Forgiveness is highly underrated. This isn’t just about forgiving others. It’s also about forgiving ourselves. But remember: Forgiving doesn’t mean we give up on things that are important to us. Nor does it mean we continue interacting with people who continue to hurt us. Forgiveness simply means we let go of the weight we’ve been carrying – the weight of anger, of a grudge, of our expectations. When we’re ready to forgive, to let ourselves and others heal, once again, miracles can happen.

Number Two: Pride is highly overrated. Learning how to say “I’m sorry” and really meaning it can take you a long way in this world. Even when we’re sure we were right, when we’re sure we were the only ones who got hurt, we have to swallow our pride in order to practice forgiveness. But again, remember: Excessive use of these two little words when not accompanied by changed behaviors or attitudes can lead to others questioning one’s authenticity.

Number Three: Unconditional love means that even if other people don’t accept your apology or never let you in, you get to love them anyway. Like the song says, “Draw the circle wide.”[i] If someone doesn’t want you in their circle, just make yours bigger, until it includes the world – and them in it.

Number Four: Courage in large doses is required for all of the above. If you’ve burned a lot of bridges, the trip home may take some doing. When in doubt, repeat steps one through three, never give up, and don’t forget to say thank you.

These points were all key to what Gran considered a very helpful way to heal our relationships, past or present: rewriting them. We have scripts in our heads, she said, stories about each person, each place, each memory. These stories are typically small, with constrictive borders that tighten over time. We know their dialogue by heart because we’ve replayed these scenes over and over in our minds, tightening that noose with each showing. We think this serves some purpose, but there’s no room to grow in there, and we become as trapped as all the other actors.

The healthiest thing we can do here is to rewrite those scripts. Take a whole notebook for each one if you like, use colored markers or finger paint, Gran didn’t care which, but rewrite those stories into grand sagas with plenty of empty pages at the end – pages for each person to complete as they grow. Pages where words spoken in haste can be transformed into words of love. Someone used to be your mortal enemy? Rewrite that story, leaving enough space for this person to turn into your best friend, and you may discover that even as you rewrite this plot, the story begins to come true. That is the power of the word.

We judge each other so harshly, projecting our fears outward. Yet there’s just no reason why we have to do this. Sadly, it seems we often make this choice because we don’t understand there’s another way. That other way doesn’t get many headlines, Gran said, but it’s true. And we all can do this, if and when we’re ready to take this step.

As we rewrite our scripts and expand our circles, we redefine the hold the past has on us, shifting our grip until we see that really, we’ve been the ones holding on to it all along. Then we have the power to decide what we’re going to do next – let it go and move on, or remain willing prisoners to our past. Only we can make that decision.

Gran had gone through this editing process many times after she figured out she didn’t look so good in those horizontal jailbird stripes. This changed her life, she said – and she hadn’t looked back since.

[i] “Draw the Circle Wide,” lyrics by Gordon Light, music by Mark A. Miller

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010-2011. All rights reserved.
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  1. Wow. Mary. I can’t find my words. You just described (very eloquently) yesterday’s inner dialogue & the drawing circles wide reference is something I have just started to try to do while forgiving things that need to be let go. Also the concept of rewriting the character & dialogue ( & the ones that have been written for us) is something I am determined to overcome. I just love your heart Miz Mary. Thank you for sharing what is for me a very timely message & encouragement to keep on this path. 🙂

    Comment by Tina Beth — September 6, 2011 @ 10:45 am | Reply

    • Thank you so much, Miz Tina – I’m so glad the story resonated. Good vibes for all your rewriting – what a powerful adventure to undertake! {hugs}

      Comment by frontporchrambles — September 15, 2011 @ 8:18 am | Reply

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