This morning I ran into my old friend, Sam. I hadn’t seen him in a while. He told me that his mother-in-law, who had lived with him and his wife for a while, had just died. She was a tiny, old, sweet Italian widow – or so he thought – until he happened upon her in their kitchen while she was cooking spaghetti sauce. She was stirring and mumbling, “…and this bastard did that to me” and “…and that son-of-a-bitch did that to me” all the time spitting into her sauce. Cursing under her breath, stirring and spitting.
“That old lady died with so much resentment in her,” my friend Sam said, “and I realized that I don’t want to keep spitting into my spaghetti sauce.”
I understand, too, that I am going to live peacefully, I have to give up resentments. Moving onto the next chapter of our lives means letting go of the last chapter. And letting go of the people who might have hurt us. Maybe they did – but it’s time for us to gently let them go and move on.
I find the best way for me to release an old hurt is to close my eyes and invite the person into my mind with me. I pretend it’s a quiet, cozy, well-appointed room. (For some reason, this room in my mind happens to be burgundy red.) I tell them what I want to say. I listen to what they might tell me. If I’m breathing deeply and staying calm, I often am able to “hear” the message they were unable to tell me in person. If it’s a family member, I hug them and then let them leave. For a business associate, I might shake their hand and wish them health, happiness and prosperity.
If I want to feel better, I can’t wait for someone else to apologize or make the first move. It’s up to me. I might not even have to say I’m sorry – words are cheap – I just have to act differently when I’m with them and think differently when I’m not with them.
I don’t want to waste my life being angry at people. Resentment means re-feeling the same feeling over and over. It blocks the sunlight of the spirit. Resentment keeps me a prisoner. And I don’t want to reach the end of my years still spitting in my spaghetti sauce.
P.S. Sam said that when his mother-in-law asked him if he wanted some spaghetti and meatballs, he thanked her politely and went out to dinner!