• Emily Bennett

The Act of Forgiving & The Art of Moving

It’s been several months since I last put my thoughts to paper and my God how much I have learned since then. During this time away, I have learned and reflected on two principles that I believe to be the essence of living a happy, healthy, and peaceful life. They are, the act of forgiving and the art of moving.

The Act of Forgiving

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things still will go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” – Angie Thomas

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the center of life I believe is people. Creating connections, forming relationships, loving them, learning from them, helping them, and most common and most necessary, the act of forgiving them.

While it’s overwhelmingly true that the right people in your life will stay, and that those are the people meant for you, I want to focus on the ones that don’t stay. Because even though you could have a hundred people in your corner, the ironic truth is that the few who do leave seem to break your heart in more places than the hundred could ever heal. This is the hardest thing for me personally to overcome. To be able to easily perfect the art of letting go, knowing that God has a bigger picture in mind, that they taught me a lesson and simply moved along to the next—that it wasn’t personal. I wish it could be like that, so beautiful and easy sounding, but truthfully it feels much more bitter and tragic in real life. I struggle with accepting endings and think that a large source of this pain is attributed to the feeling of self-doubt we as humans naturally experience.

When someone leaves, we (or at least I do) tend to look inward for a place to lay the blame—we weren’t good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, funny enough, spontaneous enough to keep them interested— we wonder if they ever think about us and how we’re doing, why they don’t reach out, if they miss us, etc. because God knows, we do in regard to them. We trick ourselves into thinking that the assets we have and the light we give off is broken or that something is wrong with it, and it can be incredibly disheartening. You may easily find yourself feeling like you were a temporary placeholder until they found someone new, like you were only friends due to a unique situation, like they used you to reap some benefit, or that they never even saw you as a close friend. There have been many instances in my own life where others have made me feel small, unimportant, used, or that my absence is of little significance to them, and in many of these cases, a goodbye was never stated or an apology given. I know firsthand how heart wrenching it can be to watch a friendship or relationship fade away when you quite literally have done nothing wrong (and trust me there have been many times where I have been at fault, but in this instance I had not). And even though you have done nothing wrong and this should make you feel better—it doesn’t make it hurt any less, it actually hurts more. So, then you’re stuck in a place where you need to do something with this overwhelming sense of sorrow and disappointment; a place I have been living in for months.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I’m tired of crying through my frustration and the unfairness of the situation, so I have finally decided what to do with it: to turn the hurt into light and love that will be sent back their way in the genuine hope that life finds them well. Basically, to let it go. No more dwelling. No more aching. And while this decision in no way accepts their actions as being okay, it provides me with the opportunity to show that, regardless of their actions, I will be okay. That I am different from them. People can treat you poorly, they can carry baggage with them and force you to hold it, but at the end of the day it isn’t yours to carry. You don’t have to be damaged because they made mistakes and chose to hurt you. And to acknowledge the pain, that is necessary. But this tendency we have, to hold others accountable for their actions and the hurt they may have caused us, forces us inevitably into a record keeping of wrongdoings; I am not in the business of keeping those. I’d much rather prefer to be light, to engage in the act of forgiving.

Sometimes there’s a falling out or a reason for the end of a friendship or relationship (like the one I went through), but in many cases, it’s just the way life works. Your paths cross and perhaps don’t run parallel for as long as you had hoped. You may beat yourself up for the shifting of the relationships in your life, that you should have held on longer or let go sooner, but truthfully: “it doesn’t matter how tightly you hold on to certain people, because at the end of the day, what is meant for you will always be yours. Trust me when I say, the right people will choose you just as deeply as you choose them. You will not have to beg for the love you deserve. You will not have to quiet the way your heart beats against your chest. One day, you will be met where you are. One day, you will be someone’s favorite thing, and you will not be confused. You will not feel like you are fighting for someone who is not fighting for you. One day you will understand that it never mattered how hard you held on to the wrong things, how much you tried, because the right things were always unfolding before you. The right things were always choosing to stay.” – Bianca Sparacino

So, I hope you learn to forgive others and I hope you learn to forgive yourself. To think less about blame and more about who you get to be in the future and the incredible people who can’t wait to meet you. I hope you feel the impact of forgiving because everything you do is important. "Each time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, God's purposes are accomplished and nothing will be the same again."-William P. Young

The Art of Moving

This summer, I had the privilege of interning with Special Olympics Maryland as a Speech Writing and Communication intern and for three months, I had a front row seat to something I call the art of moving.

As I would watch athletes compete, I could see very clearly those who finished quickly and those who fell back in the race. The ones who started to walk instead of run or quite literally stood still. I watched them sprint forward and push through. The art of moving is, in all its essence, learning to be where you are. It is the human race. It can be points in your life where you’re very clearly moving forward, or in some cases, when life’s all wrong and you seem to be moving backwards. It can even be that ‘stuck’ feeling you get when everyone around you appears to be moving, yet you cannot.

In all its forms combined, the art of moving is life and because of this, there is no penalty for the direction you shift. Sometimes, in order to move forward, you first must go backwards and in order to grow, you need periods of time to be still. The only way to fail at the art of moving is in how you react to the motion you feel. The motto of Special Olympics is, "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” While this motto can be applied to many things in life, I think it’s quite fitting for this principle of life. To aim for success and chase your dreams, regardless of whether you will attain them or not. To be brave in your journey, even if you’re scared you may not make it to where you hope. To pursue them, even if you feel alone as you do it. To have an attitude that remains driven and positive, regardless of the motion or lack thereof.

At Loyola, the common consensus of the senior class is this feeling of being ‘stuck.’ Based on the circumstances, I attribute this feeling to the balance we are trying to maintain regarding the life we currently have, while simultaneously trying to plan and prepare for the life we will have following graduation. Some of us already have jobs lined up, some of us are going into the military, some of us will take a gap year, some of us will go back to school, some of us will move back home, some of us will travel the world and then settle. The point is we’re all trying desperately to figure it out and while we’re all seemingly together in this, individually, it feels very lonely and separate from everyone else. We live with each other, have classes together, run clubs with dozens of people and still, life feels so detached.

We all have dreams we want to achieve and throughout time, they will change. Your dream job today may not be your dream job in 5 years and that’s okay. That’s what makes life so exciting. You grow, evolve, change and with it your desires, hopes, and dreams. What I hope doesn’t change, is your ability to continuously participate in the motion of your life. You’re going to feel like you’ve got it all handled and like you’re completely lost. You’ll feel like you have it all figured out and also like you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing. You’re going to change your heart and your eyes and your mind and your style and your footsteps. You’re going to fit in and stand out, be loved and be broken. And I can’t promise you how much of each you’re going to get, but I can promise you one thing. This world is going to know you were here and the overall motion of your life will be forward.

I believe in you and your endurance.

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