While in New York earlier this month, I met up with an old friend whom I hadn't seen in a decade. The best thing about good friends is that you can pick up the conversation after a long pause and it's like you've never been apart. She and I would certainly qualify as "bosom friends" in the parlance of Anne Shirley and we share many similarities.
As our conversation meandered through our evening together, we both noted that despite the fact that we feel like one of our goals in life is to go unnoticed, we both actually broadcast messages loud and clear to world all the time. More often than not that message begins with a great big capitol letter F.
"Why are we so angry?" I asked her.
"Because we've gotten hurt and its easier to express that as anger than admit to being hurt," she said.
"But what do you do if you've been hurt and you know that it will never be resolved. What if the person that hurt you will never ask for forgiveness?" I asked.
"I guess you grieve it and move on," she said.
Now, the idea of what to do with wounds that will never be redressed is a concept that Josh and I have spun around in conversations for many years. These "unforgivens" tend to accumulate in your soul when the person on the other end is unwilling or unable to let you resolve the damaged relationship. The answer that my friend gave me to this question seemed spot on. These kinds of breaks are akin to death in that the other person is unreachable. Why hadn't I thought of it before?
My experiences with grief have been limited, but when I have grieved, I have found it bewildering. Perhaps there is something in me that resists permanence because I have a hard time accepting that there is nothing I can do (may I introduce you to my inner control freak?). Anger is active and it means you are still in the game fighting. However, when you are fighting about something whose time has passed, then continuing to be angry is more damaging than letting go. I believe my friend is right, and the answer out is through grief.
And so begins my grief project. For the rest of this year, I intend to learn how to be a better griever so that I can clean out the detritus of past hurts that are holding me back.