After completing Sunday's post, I made certain the kids had their lunch and I went in to lay down. I was "sorely afflicted" with a nasty cold and my body ached from head to toe. I read for a few minutes before succombing to a fidgety and rather restless sleep. Regardless, I stayed in bed so long my sweet hubby, who didn't make it home from his church duties until about five in the evening, awoke me to ask, "Do you want some dinner?" I shook my head, looked at the time, and moaned. I'd been in and out of sleep for close to two and a half hours. It took another fifteen minutes, but I finally dragged myself out of bed.
I tell you all this to give you an idea of my mindset: I was drowsy, foggy in the head, still under the weather, and likely to choose the glass-half-empty attitude towards life. When at last dinner was over my honey and I had some time to talk. He'd had quite a rough day dealing with hoards of problems and ornery people. One in particular had to do with a friend of a ward member who'd called earlier last week, looking for help from our employment specialist. I had no idea who our employment specialist was (turns out there is none). At the time she'd called I was counselling with a struggling mom online, my oldest was begging to do something together, my youngest wanted Mom to take her to the potty, and I was babysitting for another ward member. To explain my mindset when this woman called, I can only say overwhelmed!
So yes, when the caller refused to take "I don't know" for an answer, I got terse. I couldn't stop it from coming out sounding mean. I had no idea when my husband would be home to talk with her as he had meetings and responsibilities for several days. Still, as I looked back on the conversation later that day, I felt bad.
Little did I realize word would be brought back to my husband. Little did I realize that instead of coming to me and asking what had happened to make me behave so uncharacteristically, this friend of the woman would rather believe the worst in me. I admitted to my husband I was terse with her, but he knew me well enough to realize I'm not rude to people unless something is very wrong.
Too bad it didn't stop there. Due to another set of circumstances someone who was very angry with my husband dragged both of us into the dirt. When he was told I would no longer babysit for him, he basically said I did absolutely nothing all day long and should have no problem to watch his kids whenever he asked. Never mind I'd set aside many an outing with my children so I could be there for him and his wife countless times before. Never mind I was often overwhelmed and suffering from depression, yet still agreed to watch his kids so he or his wife could get to doctor appts. It was this one that hurt me more deeply than anything else. He had such a low opinion of me, yet had no problem using me when the purpose suited him.
Needless to say I cried for a good long while. I imagined myself more than once bringing both of my attackers (for I did feel attacked) to their knees with my own rantings and justifications. Of course, once I calmed down, the words I'd felt inspired to include in a post I'd written just hours before came back to my mind.
When we pray for others, our hearts change. Even when it comes to those we don't plan to ever think kindly of we can see a change. For some individuals this can be a process done over years and years. For others the change can be almost immediate. Though we may never find ourselves loving with all of our souls those who have done us mountains of wrong, we can at least feel a softening of our hearts and a remembrance of who they are; that like us, they are children of our Heavenly Father.
That night I got down on my knees and I prayed. I prayed hard, and I prayed long. I first asked for forgiveness regarding my own harsh feelings. Then I prayed for understanding, both on my part and theirs. Then I simply prayed for those I felt had wronged me, that peace might find their own souls and help change their own hearts toward me, just as I desired a change of heart toward them. I ended my prayer with one last request, to help me know if any action should be taken, or if it was something I could simply let go.
The most remarkable feeling infused me the next morning. I was happier than I'd felt in days. Sure I was still sick, but my heart felt so light. I knew one incident should simply be left alone, as I had no desire to give any sort of energy to it, but the other I could easily do something about. I wrote the first individual a quick letter, explaining my mindset the day his friend called, and asked him to let the woman know how sorry I was, as well as requesting if it were to ever happen again for him to come to me. It was easily written, and came out sweetly, rather than sounding accusing.
Another day later and I feel as though things are right with the world. I was able to live precisely what I preached, and now I am a witness as to the truthfulness of those words! What a wonderful Father and Brother I have, to allow me the chance to see their words working in my own life.