Capturing life in words…
In order to motivate myself for the day to write, I stepped outside my norm and decided to use a writing prompt. Pleased by the depth to the question in Word Press daily writing prompt, I took pen in hand to ponder. What is my greatest regret?
Choosing my Regret
Identifying my deepest, most intensely regretted life event was surprisingly difficult. It was not because I have an inflated ego and cannot recognize errors. I have made enough mistakes to say I have “lived with zeal!” Nor was it due to choosing from a lengthy list, determining which regret captured the prize for highest measurable pain, disruption, chaos and sorrow. Nope, it was neither. My dilemma was many ucky and undesirable events, although initially been tethered to regret, were touched by grace, and became a blessing. Now before you roll your eyes and stop reading, hear me out. As most of us lovers of the word, we are deep thinkers and see the multiple angles. Life is a prism. It refracts out surprising colors which fall at odd angles and (here is the good part), may even reflect a splash of delightful colored light into a shadow. Ahhh, yes, even the darkest events in my world were splashed with a rainbow so brilliant, the journey could never be considered a “regret”.
Peeling Back the Layer to Regret
To find the regret, the grand champion of them all, I poked that tender spot. Yep, the one I avoid touching as it is still healing. My biggest regret is allowing myself to become captive to anger towards my mother, and let it taint us both.
Anger is our cheapest defense mechanism. It is easy. It is a primitive emotion. It has its’ place. For me, it lingered too long. It was not paying rent, but lodged there pushing out any other roomies. Forgiveness knocked, but Anger slammed the door in her face. Peace and Acceptance met the same fate.
The journey towards forgiveness is a long, twisty road with lots of Dead Ends, slippery bridges and uphill climbs. It is confusing. I lacked the emotional resources and wisdom to forgive. Hence, Anger remained a resident in my heart.
My inability to forgive my mother was toxic. It tainted my world for years. It was born of my desperate desire for mother-daughter interactions. My soul yearned for a real relationship with this housewife, and later, publishing clerk. Having a nurturing mother ranked right up there with “getting married,” “having children,” and “going to college”. (And yes, I did them in that order).
Sadly, we did not have a relationship — ever. It was not possible for her after I developed an established sense of self or “other”, known as autonomy. Not able to understand why would any grown up would be distant and cool, I first blamed myself. For decades I thought I was unworthy. Then I got angry. I was damned mad. I stayed mad. Finally, when my anger was peeled away and I took a peek at what was underneath, then I began to heal. I forgave the confused unloved little Linda and the wayward ways of Mother.
In removing the useless need to establish blame, so much more became visible. I know she loved me in her own way– as confusing and painful as it was for me. Her love was like staring at a beautiful masterpiece in an art gallery. The grace, darkness, light was beautiful– but the message of love was not immediately understood. Once the creator of the masterpiece whispers a few key insights, pulling away the veil of ignorance, then the piece comes alive before my eyes. The masterpiece in itself has not changed, only the lens filter through which it is seen. I had changed.
For the first time in my life, I can say, “I love you, Mom. I forgive you.”
The masterpiece in itself has not changed, only the lens filter through which it is seen.
I cannot wait to say those words to her in Heaven. But as I sit here, sipping soda and typing these last words, my heart tells me she knows. She heard them… and she loves me too.