Leaving grudges behind in 2012

oakey woods wma, houston co. GA, United States

Happy New Year.

I don't make resolutions. They have always been wish lists for me.

I found my first passport which I got in 1985. That was 27 years ago and the woman in the picture is no longer me. My essential personality is there. Its all the baggage good and bad along the way. Of course there is my youth shining through the picture.

I struggled with becoming a senior citizen. I'm a young one at 56. My fear is that I will never get the Great American Novel written. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, it was there with me all along. It was lost in this race called life.

My resolution this year is simple. Drop the grudges. Forget the hidden scorecard. I learned a long time ago that you forgive for your own benefit.

Grudges are the memories of past slights and transgressions. For me, I have not had that many personal attacks. A fellow teacher despised me. I never figured out why. I was one of few co-workers who didn't criticize the fact she was gay.

I've had people that spurned my friendship for no reason The funniest one was this man who lived in the house he grew up in. His parents were snobs to my family. We didn't go to church and we were country. He felt too big to speak to me as a 50 year old man. No one is better than another person. But I had achieved so much and he so little in comparison.

This year I had a almost thirty something to really dislike me for no reason that I know. I was born with the "like everybody" gene. I would like to say it did not bother me. But it did. I don't burn bridges out of common sense. What eats at my soul is why was I disposable?

My new years gift to myself is I am leaving grudges to 2012. I'll write that person's name on a piece of paper and write what bothered me on it if I keep thinking of it. Wad it up and throw it out with the used cat litter that day.

I did have something remarkable happen this year. As a kid, my family was haunted by a woman in the neighborhood that I grew up in. I used to think she told all the stories because she had a past which my dad knew about. I now know it was about power and the fact that she could wield it. Those that shunned us spoke volumes about themselves. Many others could have cared less.

One of the kids who was several years older talked to me this past summer. His wife was there. She was my friend in water aerobics. It was surreal. Forty years had passed from the time I had known him. Forty years ago he would have looked through me as if I were invisible.

What do you say? We talked about our families. I felt like telling his wife. Don't make him do this. This is cruel. But like me in the photograph, that teenage boy who didn't associate with the neighborhood pariahs no longer existed.

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