A group of us were talking about self-imposed imprisonment called “resentments”. We know we have to be vigilant about spotting them in ourselves and look at how we nurture them like fragile babies.
Yah but! We want to blame the “other” and not have to face these peace-defying resentments.
One woman in the group said, “I realize I even have resentments towards people who are too happy. Can you imagine? I think happy people are phoney! Then I get mad because they think they are fooling me. I know they’ve got ugly stuff in their lives, too. Who do they think they’re kidding?”
We laughed, but not at her. Her honesty was uncomfortably familiar.
Another person added, “Yah…and I find when I’m in resentment mode, the triggers grow exponentially. Pretty soon, I’m cuing feelings like the director of a stage play in rehearsal.”
“Then there’s the resentments we conjure over situations that haven’t even happened,” I added.
I described the time in 2000 when I went through a heart-wrenching break-up with a man. Our paths crossed frequently and my resentments would flare each time I saw his black truck: I am unheard. He won’t even try to understand my point of view. He had no interest in my needs. He’s thrown away our love.
With perfect timing, a work contract came available. I saw it as my opportunity to heal without being interrupted by the sight of this man, his truck or his Malamute dog who I also missed inconsolably. I accepted the contract and gladly moved temporarily to a city on another island.
A number of months passed in my new location and I resisted going home for a visit. I began to wake up the odd morning without my thoughts turning immediately to him. I relished the progress and was relieved there were still several months remaining on the contract. My temporary home brought solace, friendship, nature and, above all, healing.
However, in one instant, all of my serenity evaporated. It happened after work, on my way to my temporary home. I pulled up to a major intersection and was first at a red light. Directly across from me, waiting to turn to his left, was THE black truck. It was HIM! The beloved Malamute was in the back! There was my dog buddy, joyfully moving from side to side, sniffing the air.
Suddenly rage replaced heartbreak. Thoughts raced: What’s he doing here? How did he learn where I lived? He just came from the direction of my neighbourhood! There’s no reason for him to be here except to stalk my whereabouts. The creep!
I became so furious, I visualized heading straight for his truck and smashing into him when my light turned green. I didn’t care about damages, costs or the consequences. I’d had enough!
My traffic light still red, the black truck slowly began to move. Oh no! I was missing my chance! He came forward and slowly began turning toward his left. Ignoring my red traffic light, I was gonna nail him.
Just as I pushed in the clutch and shifted to first gear, I realized the truck wasn’t his. A flash of the driver’s profile confirmed it wasn’t him. It wasn’t even the Malamute.
I froze as all the other traffic followed the black truck onto the highway. I couldn’t believe what I had just felt, what I was capable of planning. Shocked, I drove through my green light with a conviction that, once home, I would do nothing else until I dug out the resentment that was capable of taking me so close to destruction. Revenge had never been a part of my modus operandi. It was frightening to experience anger of that caliber.
At home, I sat in a chair in silence. I wanted to blame him. I wanted my rage to be his fault. I resisted facing my anger until my determination finally took over. I had to identify the fear that fueled such rage.
Teachers come into our lives in many forms. During my healing, I could never have imagined this man being one of mine. However, after much time, diligent soul-cleaning and welcome spiritual influence, I can thank him for this pivotal incident.
And he wasn’t even there.