If I’ve learned anything in my 23 years of life, it’s to never be surprised. When you let your guard down to the point that something another person can say or do can shock you, you know that you’ve missed a step somewhere along the way. How often do we project our rationale onto other people and expect that their thinking follows the same operating principals we live by only to wake up and realize that we’ve had it wrong the entire time? We rack our brain over and over again trying to figure out “how” someone could do something they’ve done because “we would never” do it, but we fail to realize that their abilities in this area might differ from our own. How often have we been thrown by the actions of others because our feelings clouded our ability to really perceive them or our hoping against hope has led us to the delusion that we can really “change” another person? I guess the frequency of incident isn’t as relevant as whether or not we’ve learned from them.
You cannot ever expect to get an orange from an apple tree. That is what I told my mother today as she went off on another long and drawn out tirade regarding my father about how “shocked” she was by his recent behavior. I wasn’t shocked at all. Sadly, I’ve come to expect certain things and it appalls me that after 20+ years, she has not accepted the way he is. (She is still reaching for oranges.) Instead, she chooses to tear herself up, wondering “how” and “why,” while all the while it’s been clear that whatever the reasons are, that’s the way it is. (This is why I chose to forgive him today.) There are certain things in life that we won’t like – certain things that will tear us up regardless of whether or not we accept them willingly – but the important thing is to make peace with those things, to realize that we are in no position to argue with “the way things are,” and to resign ourselves to making better choices.
Choices are that which we have control over and it’s those very choices that define – or destroy – our lives, if we let them. Choosing to accept is not always the easy choice – nor is choosing to forgive that which we cannot understand – but it’s in our hands, and it has the potential to set us free from the chains we place upon ourselves and give us a peace we would not otherwise find.
To love another person you need to really see them. To accept someone for what they are you need to really know what they are. Yet, at the same time, you can’t take anything for granted, because – as I’ve learned – things in life can come along to blind us or distract us from certain truths. I’ve accepted certain things; I have hope in my heart. There is peace in that.