Lessons. As children, we are taught to imbibe learnings from lessons. We are taught about different subjects through lessons. As we become older, we learn that lessons have a different meaning as well. We realize what we hadn’t thought of in school: that lessons are lifelong. That lessons come outside the classrooms. Somehow, what was beautiful as a source of learning, becomes tainted with negativity. “I learned my lesson,” we say, shaking our heads at our follies, at our vulnerabilities, at our pain. We no longer learn lessons of kindness, compassion or love. We learn lessons of hurt, abandonment, indifference, and more.
As I thought about this prompt from #DecemberReflections2016, I realized I wanted to be a child again. I wanted to learn because it’s joyful to know something new. Not to feel that life is teaching us another lesson, yet again, but to view learning afresh. So, what was my biggest lesson from 2016? Let me tell you a story.
Earlier this year, a girl met me on my blog, befriended me on FB, and then we became friends. The girl probably gained a lot from me, learned a lot from me about the messages of the Universe, and I was a bit of a support when she was apparently recovering from the pain of a marriage breakup. We shared an amazing connection, although I wonder if it was friendship true and beautiful.
Fast forward a few months. Girl meets another boy. End of story. Girl is lost in the new boy completely, suddenly hibernates, no longer knows how or what to talk to me, proclaims will “resurrect the friendship” and then after promising so, just stops talking. No messages, of anger or kindness, work. Absolute silence. I fail to elicit a response in any way. What’s App messages are just seen but not responded to. A couple of days earlier, the girl wrote on her blog in a post that seems to be so hypocritical that she sends a thought every time she sees a butterfly for a “friend whom she abandoned,” but that she forgives herself and that she is healing herself on the path to peace. I stare at the screen in utter bafflement. Who should heal? Should you not first heal the ones you harm or hurt first before healing yourself?
“Used, used, used, abandoned, abandoned, abandoned” are the words ringing in your head. Is this my lesson? That if you are kind, you end up being used by people who will conveniently abandon you because the fight is not worth it once you have the next big thing? Or because you see the worst in the other for the first time? Or whatever the reason might be? Are these the lessons the Universe wants me to form as an armor? Should I become more cynical? Is that the lesson?
That’s what I thought. This is what I should believe:
The biggest lesson I learn is that we can allow ourselves to be corroded by the actions of others, or we can allow ourselves to be elevated.
That choice is ours. It’s not enough to merely love the best in others. Love is really to love the worst in others as well. It’s not enough to be compassionate only to those who receive it with kindness, but to those who abuse it as well.
My path in 2016 has been to seek a brighter version of myself and to seek the light in all that I do and feel. So, I learned that when you give of yourself to another, in time, kindness or effort, you open yourself up beautifully for more of that. Learn not to treat harshness with harshness, indifference with indifference, but with love and compassion. I learned not to let go too easily, not to cave into our fears, but to understand the bridges that need to be built if we need to cross rivers of humanity. I can choose to be angry. Or I can learn to love, however, difficult it may be. I have learned enough about letting go. I am learning to let in. Especially, angels. Who is to say this girl wasn’t an angel? She is certainly…