Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The long road of bitterness

Jake sits perched upon a large mound of smooth rocks, separated and detached from family members who gather in a half circle on the level dirt mountain ridge below him. Although Jake is a strong man in his late sixties, looking up at him now he appears to be withered, worn, and weakened by his own betrayals in life. As he awaits the commencement of his father's memorial gathering, he readies himself to strike.

Before the scattering of the ashes, family members step forward to share personal stories and meaningful memories of a father, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather. Suddenly, the warmth and comfort of the moment is shattered by the piercing squawk from up above. A constant flow of venomous verbiage floods the open space silencing the words of praise and promise. An eruption of years filled with resentment, bitterness, and blame flame the air and filter through the massive shrubs that surround the family.

Everyone is stunned. There is no weapon strong enough to stand up against Jake's shield of anger. He is right; the family is wrong. Jake never leaves his perch; he never wavers from his position. As he awaits for the affirmation of his victimization; no one offers it. Jake remains alone, accompanied only by his self-pity.

Although family members are quieted by the dominance hovering over them, an invisible bond of understanding starts to form among them. With loving gazes, hands touching arms, and gentle movements guiding one another, the family connects in their loving remembrance. Each one respects the road that the other has traveled in relationship to the man who is being honored. As family members lower their heads in prayer, they are brought together in life, in love, and in loyalty.

As the memorial concludes, an empty awkwardness replaces the preceding moments of closeness. Each family member disconnects further from the tortured soul towering over them. Each one realizes that Jake's path has been different and difficult. But each one's unwavering understanding now turns to a resigned disregard.

The family will continue to make their way down a better road, a road of healing and of a more well place of being. Jake,on the other hand, will continue to travel down a lonely, destructive path. It is a choice he makes every day, and he chooses to blame. Jake allows his betrayal experiences to keep him bound as he drags himself down the long road of bitterness.

Wellness tip: Each one of us has the opportunity to "right being wronged". If we wait for someone or something else to do it for us, we remain in a state of bondage to that other person or thing, and we rob ourselves of the healing experience to reclaim our rightful sense of being.

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