Friday, November 09, 2007

Some Kind of Wonderful

Something different happened last night.

I had been reading something earlier in the evening that said the worst thing a guy could do in a relationship was to be "too predictable".

And I thought to myself, "what could I do that would be different?"   So, I took my wife out on a surprise trip to see a movie ("Dan in Real Life"), without telling her where we were going or what we were doing.

And I have to say it was working quite well.   She glowed throughout the experience, and the movie was charming and funny as well.

But something happened on the drive home:

I found myself fishing for compliments.

Worse, my wife wasn't taking the bait!

And I was starting to feel down.

That's when I had to think about what was going on with me.  Why was I looking for validation?   Why do I need her to say what I did was good, when I already saw how she glowed?   Why am I putting my heart into her hands, for no reason?

And then I asked an even better question:

"Who (and what) do I need to forgive?"

And I remembered always trying to get my mother's attention as a kid.  Never feeling like she knew who I was, like I was any more than a prop she used in her "I'm a good mother" show...   See what good grades my son has, how well behaved he is...

[shudder]

When I was in my early teens, I considered a lot of the things my mother did to be unforgivable.

But now I know that...

Forgiving Someone Doesn't Mean
What They Did Was OK!

And holding on to the pain of what happened, only keeps you from moving on.

What you don't forgive, you can't forget.  You keep repeating the same drama, trying to make it turn out differently.  You tell yourself that this new person, new method, new diet -- new anything -- will make it different.  Make it better.

But it doesn't.

Because that was never the problem in the first place.

Now, I honestly don't know how forgiveness really works.  I don't have it broken down into some step-by-step mental formula.   So far, it has been a little different for me every time.

But there is one thing that is constant: the feeling of letting go.

It's like a tension in your body, by which you're literally and physically clinging to something.

And you need to just...

Let.  It.  Go.

So that's what I did, right then and there, as we passed the "Pollo Tropical" restaurant a few blocks from our subdivision.

And somehow, I didn't need my wife to tell me I was wonderful any more.

Not because I already knew.

But because I no longer needed to be "wonderful" in the first place.

Yours in the Circle,

--PJE

P.S. This isn't the end of the story.   Not by a long shot!   But I won't be sharing the rest on my blog.   For that, you'll have to be at least a Guest of the Circle.