May 10, 2012

Scrupulous Exactitude of Resentment

You can't shake hands with a closed fist. ~Indira Gandhi

Are you one who keeps a list? Many of us take very careful count of all that has been lost. With the scrupulous exactitude of resentment, we tally up every wrong that was done to us, every privilege or pleasure that we were denied, every hardship or obstacle that blocked our way. Because we make such an effort to record everything, our list grows and grows with each passing year. And the longer it gets, the better we like it. Justifying resentments can be mighty satisfying.

The problem is that list making keeps us fixated at the point of our losses. It nails us to the past, forever victimized, forever on the lookout for more of the same.

Resentment closes the hand to a fist. How can a fist reach out in friendship or reconciliation? How can a fist receive love or any other gift? A fist may be fine for clutching a grubby little pencil and slashing away at a yellowing old score card. But it closes off too many good things. Nobody ever *gave* anything to a fist.

Most of the items on our list may be factual. Some may even be criminal. But what real purpose is served~and what price paid~by compiling a catalog of misery? Wouldn't it be better to let that stuff go? Bad enough that those things happened at all; worse yet that we're still keeping them alive.

I can't hang on to the old and reach out for the new at the same time.

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