It would be worth my while to write two blogs on this subject, but I didn’t think that was necessary for my readers. Fact is, we all have experienced that unless these two things hang together, it is very difficult to actually fulfil either.
Before I go, there a few unrelated things:
- So good that the SARB held the rate last month. They are as desperate as the rest of us for solid growth and are nurturing the prospect like a sole mandate. Great news!
- Wasn’t Tiger Woods amazing in the “The Masters?” The 12th hole proved telling for his opposition and then to win was off the charts. “The Masters” is a test of golf for the whole person, but when you consider what he’s put his family through and then that he has a replaced knee and a multi-fused back, and that he’s now “come back” it is probably the most historic recovery in the game of golf and possibly in the world of sport. Why I mention him [and again later], is that “coming back” is what we all do every day of our lives to a greater or lesser degree.
- Did you see Xolani Luvuno on Carte Blanche? You can Google him for a real shot in the arm but shortly, he ran the Two Oceans and then set his sights on the Iron Man. He did the former on crutches with a steel leg and he did the latter despite the fact that he could not swim about 9 months before. They were worried that he would fail the swim cut-off but he made it and then he failed on the 108kms cycle but went on to complete the Iron Man 2019 despite not qualifying. Man, I love it – got goosebumps over me and both of us shed tears on Sunday night [14 April 2019]. His mentor and boss, Hein Venter, rescued him off the streets. He had this to say:
“One day I was feeding a beggar, next day I was standing in the shadow of a Superstar.”
We continue with the last “F” of our LIFE acronym…
The word “fore” is shouted by golfers when a stray ball is heading for a crowd. Just before you get this egg on your head and a blinding headache, a golfer will shout “Fore!” It means “in front of” and it’s best-known use is part of the word “before” which we all know means “in front of”, or simply, “before”. Easy, hey? But then why is it so hard to fore-give and fore-get?
There’s so much to say about these two little words to do them justice, but let’s try:
Fore-give means “to give before”. That’s where the problem lies for us. We want to get and then give. Or, if we’re modern in our ways, we want 50/50. That’s how we live so many of our relationships. You give a little and I’ll give a little, or, maybe I’ll give a little more than you – all according to opinions though. Then there’s the gross hurt that rocks our lives from time to time. Hurt that cut deep and feel irreparable at the time and at best, leave wounds and voids in our heart. Painful and deep; really unforgivable. We carry those pains in us even though we know they form the basis of psychosomatic illnesses that gouge away at us over time – stress, blood pressure, depression and many think, even cancer. The little things are hard to forgive, the big, well-nigh impossible.
Why is this so? Why would we allow so much hurt to rack us even while we know it’s not good for us? In fact, clichés like “suck it up”, “let it go”, and “live and let live”, “it’s not your responsibility” and many other terms of good counsel roll off our lips as common-sense for others. But, let us be the ones to forgive, and we’d rather die inside than tell the other person they’re forgiven. Of course, the hurt is at the root of our problem and it feels indescribably insurmountable. Perhaps pride sets in and “I’ll forgive when they say they’re sorry” becomes our mantra. Mantra, or justification? Justification for not saying sorry unconditionally and being able to move on as best as possible. Please my friend, be the first. It’s good for you. Please!
“Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, and the waste of energy.”
– shares Nicky Gumble, of Alpha renown.
We’re reminded of Nelson Mandela’s quote about resentment [the close cousin of un-forgiveness] being like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Looking back on Tiger Woods, you wonder at the forgiveness that was required in that relationship; millions of people were exposed to his infidelity and Nike withdrew his Ambassador status along with many other sponsors. And what about the need to fore-give himself at the depths of his despair so as to recover his total emotional loss. Surely, some fore-giveness was also at the heart of his come-back? Let’s hope so because fame cannot replace the hollow that no doubt existed in his heart. Release yourself from the wounds and voids of a broken heart.
Perhaps even more difficult for us is to forget. “I’ll forgive but I won’t forget”, we hear so often. The release of forgetfulness seems so difficult to achieve even if we’ve gone the route of fore-giving. We’ve humbled ourselves, got off our high horse, eaten humble pie and done all the rituals and norms to say sorry but we cannot forget; a syndrome of the human heart and mind. From too much chocolate over Easter to the serious breakdowns of relationships to crippling accidents that were not our fault. We carry the pain and remember the memories of the past. How do we erase those memories and “move on”?
I think that we need to treat nasty memories like we treat any thoughts. Imagine activating every thought that crossed your mind. “Buy that Cadburys marshmallow-filled Easter egg” you head says. But you know you must resist because resistance to chocolate is futile [so the saying goes ☺]. So you bury the thought and move to the fresh meat counter to buy yourself some low-fat rump mince. What did you do with the chocolate thought? You had it, you re-directed yourself, changed the thought to something healthy, and moved on. Surely, the same thing applies to the serious as to the trivial? You have the thought about a serious incident with its pain but before you allow yourself to dwell on the thought, the Good Book says, “You bring every thought into captivity” [2 Corinthians 10:5]. So you arrest the thought, think on something different [more positive, healthy, fruitful] and act towards it.
I doubt we ever forget. We are not built to do so as we store memories so as to create templates for future behaviour whether that is a loss, a hurt or a pain. But we can arrest those thoughts that are not good for us, and we must for our own sake. Stop trying to erase the memory by letting it be, but don’t let it be you any longer. Once again, release yourself from the wounds and voids of a broken heart.
Imagine Xolani thinking that he could not succeed because he is a rehabilitated heroin addict. How many times did he hearken back to the streets, perhaps even to the times he had two legs? How he must have cursed himself for his stupidity at times and possibly think that he could have been a natural champion rather than an amputee superstar. What a waste his head would tell him as he panted unrelentingly and his shoulders hurt but, in his heart, beat the alternate dream to win and conquer despite his disability. No regret too strong to stop his will to win and compete, first with himself and then with others. In fact, the last time I saw such guts was when Oscar donned his blades and ran himself into the history books. Fore-get….never! But become a victim of memories…..never!. Surely the same goes for Tiger – how he could have spent his $100’s of millions in lulled reclusivity knowing he was a spent force. Never! He stood up, failed and came back against all odds. Thoughts captive rather than a captive of his thoughts.
This has been a heavy blog for me. We all know that forgiveness and forgetfulness are bedfellows, but so many people I meet are fixated by one or the other, or both. The outline above is certainly not the be-all of therapy and many books have no doubt been written on the subject. In the final analysis, the end result is ours and ours alone. If you need one or both, “gun dit vir jouself”. If you need to forget, redirect your thinking to the precious and grateful and allow yourself the space to move on to something higher and noble. You’re worth it.