Last night I was out for dinner with some friends and we ran into a common friend.
This person (let's call him Person X) has been a family friend for over 30 years and in fact, his father is a very close friend of my father and my uncles. After the usual chit-chat, my friends and I got into a car and proceeded towards home. Kindly enough, one of my friends had taken on the onus of dropping everyone home, and since she lives close to my parents home, I was going to be dropped off last. My friend (that was dropping me off) received a message from Person X to call him immediately. Assuming that he was calling her about something important, she called him while I was still in the car and let the call connect through her car’s Bluetooth (she was driving).
Over the next 5 minutes, Person X proceeded to spew out all the venom about my family and me, that he had been keeping in his system for a very long time. It is pointless for me to delve into the details of the vilification spewed by Person X because it only points toward the obviously troubled state of his mental health. However, it was clear by the end of the call that this family friendship was over, at least for me.
As you can imagine, the disbelief of hearing what was said by a near & dear one, turned into seething anger by the time I reached my parent's house and his venom had spread throughout my system by the time I reached my bed. I could not believe the things that this person had said, and I was trying to decipher the inspiration for spewing out the ridiculous B.S., accusations, and lies… and every time those words played back in my head they would only get louder. I felt the urgent need to defend my family’s honour as well as my own reputation and initially, I thought that required me going to Person X’s house and forcing him to drink back his own venom with the added course of venom that I had prepared for him. However, better sense prevailed and somehow I got a few hours of fitful sleep. The break helped my mind relax but once the mind got whirring again the words from the previous night started to cloud my thoughts once again.
It was at this point that I remembered watching a video about a Holocaust survivor, Eva Kor who lost her parents and siblings within 30 minutes of arriving at Auschwitz. Fortunately for her, having a twin sister saved both their lives because they were needed for the experiments conducted by the dreaded “Angel of Death”, Dr Josef Mengele. Eva and her sister were physically liberated in 1945. The side effects of the experiments led to cancer and a painful death for her sister. Even though she had suffered so much pain and loss, at such a young age and for no fault of her own, she eventually forgives Dr Mengele and becomes an advocate for forgiving the past and moving on with life.
I made the correct decision to watch this video once again and it finally broke the fever from the verbal venom that was coursing through my veins. I realized that if Eva could forgive someone that had directly and physically altered the course of her life then forgiving someone for spreading meaningless gossip about my family and me was not an issue. In fact, I was smiling at the end of the video because my anger was all gone and it had become so easy to forgive Person X for his immaturity. My forgiveness has nothing to do with me forgetting what Person X did and he will forever be banished from both my personal & professional circles, but this exercise definitely helped me take back control and choose to move through this episode instead of getting further sucked into it. Let the past go and focus on the present.
It is going to be a great day now… that is for sure! :)