Early morning on a snowy first day of winter, I drove my grandmother and her “friend” Rue, to the airport. As he was dosing in the back seat before his long flight to D.C., grandma and I were talking typical family shop and along came one of the great grandma-isms that has resurfaced my entire life; the most important variable to any situation is time. Time to learn and digest; Time to find out the lesson or purpose; Time to mourn or celebrate; Time to take for ourselves and heal.
Hearing this time antidote for most of my life, as many of us have, I never took it for its full meaning. Now, as an adult, I see that the constant thought about giving moments and situations the time they need has given me great patience. To me, patience is my most valuable quality because that is one of the qualities that I most admire in other people. Patience helps allow someone to see the big picture. Patience is something that we all, especially in our country, could use more of constantly.
After we finished at the airport, grandma and I started talking about the many years, and the different circumstances she was in while teaching special education. From the great moments of creating adults out of these children whom many thought would not be able to live without constant help, to the moments where all she could do was ask for any form of help possible. Those days, where she was going against stream with all of her forty plus students, are the days she says gave her the most strength for whatever the next situation was.
While talking about her experiences, and the importance of time, we then went onto a topic that many of us think about and don’t share it with others. The topic is forgiveness and we asked the question how do you forgive those people who went against all of the personal morals you have? How do you forgive after you and people you love and respect have been hurt and lives have been ruined?
Fortunately, that level or resentment and betrayal has not been included in my life-line, but that is not to say that it won’t or can’t. When the time comes though, that we all need to let go of these feelings and forgive, how do we?
My grandma included her belief in being a good Christian as part of why she needs to forgive. For me, when I get closer to the end of my life, which I hope is not for some time yet, I will also think about those people that I may feel ill or anger towards and see if I am able to let those feelings go.
This topic though just made our conversation come into one full circle back to time, and that time heals. The more time spent after these people you’re looking to forgive have actually performed the act that caused these feelings, the less reluctant we are to hold those feelings so strongly. We do and can forgive. It is less stress when we do forgive and a waste of energy when we can’t forgive. The key is to take a little advice from grandma and give everything the time it needs and in the way of forgiveness, that is the time to heal, even if it takes an extremely long time to do.