Regrets.  I had my fair share of these and the last is not far from memory.

A friend of mine decided one day to stop talking to me. I believe she’s made up her mind for a good reason, though I never got to find out what it was. I waited for a conversation to take place to have some understanding, a sense of clarity, but my hopes ended in vain.

When somebody you talk to every day suddenly ignores you, it hurts. You get these questions in mind, questions I myself didn’t know how to handle at that particular time.

A confrontation could have helped, but I took a more cowardly approach, that was,  to ignore her too.  At one point I just gave up and turned my back on something I could have saved.

Weeks passed and my frustration slowly healed. I intended to pick up where I left off, but I figured it was too late. I knew then that my friend and I were definitely going to part ways.

My few attempts to win back what I’ve lost felt more like sowing a seed and never seeing it grow. It was a fruitless exercise.  I look at myself and sighed, “Guess, you’re trying too hard on this one.”

For the second time, I gave up. Maybe it’s water under the bridge. It’s over. It’s done and I just had to deal with it.

I came to terms with my limitations and confided to another friend.  I asked for a bit of advice on what to do.  She said, try acceptance, and try forgiveness.  All I can muster was, “Oh. Alright.” – my thoughts still quite disorderly.  Obviously, these aren’t medications you can buy from a local pharmacy. It.took.me.time.—to process, to understand, and to appreciate the beauty embedded in these two words:  acceptance and forgiveness.

Acceptance means to embrace something for what it is now.  Forgiveness is to let go of the hurt and surrender the guilt.

Oftentimes we want to go back to how things were.   That’s what I wished for my case.  I know I too have made a mistake, and it cannot be undone. But the more I thought about the actions I took, I realized I must have done both myself and my friend a favor.  We talk now but not as much as before. Since the interaction’s quite limited, we have done away with one thing:  the negative talk about our common “enemy”.

We were once united by a common dislike against one person. The negative talk has taken a toll on me and it affected my work and the quality of my thoughts. Now that we don’t have the luxury to justify each other’s complaint, we’re both forced to be quiet about our grudges.  It’s something that, for me, has turned into a blessing.  Less focus on the bad meant more focus on the good.

Mistakes can be repeated until the lesson has been learned.  I will strive to do better next time around. But for now, I need to forgive myself for the immaturity, the cowardice, the ego and the pride I had held dear. To my friend, I hope she finds it in her heart to forgive me too, as I have resolved for the same forgiveness in mine.

Today, I’m deserting the hurt, the guilt, the regrets and the lame efforts to revive something that has died. What was broken can no longer be fixed.  It can only be made new. So this is me giving a new beginning to my friend, releasing her from my clutch, so she could blossom into a wonderful and strong woman she’s always meant to be. Let bygones be bygones.

As I glance into my car’s rearview mirror, I noticed the things that looked so huge just moments ago have now become so small, ‘till slowly, it faded away.  As I drove further up the road new things came in sight.  Some pretty, some not.  But I thought to myself:  “Well, this is “Now”, and I will cherish every minute of it.”

“I took a backseat and just allowed things to happen as they should, watched time pass by as it meant to.  This intended pause just equated to rest at first but then it gave me something more- a sense of clarity to what I really want and what I need to let go”.- sundaewrites

 

I was in high school when my dad first taught me how to drive. After some time my brother and I would always compete and insist on taking the wheel to drive around town.  Some years more, I needed to start driving in the city.  Coming from a small town where I’d have to deal with slower traffic, fewer cars, smaller roads, driving in the city with more travelers on the road, was really a big deal for me.  I implored dad to help me master at least one route- from home to work and back, to the extent that I’d feel more confident about it.  Without hesitation, my dad agreed but on one condition. He’ll stay in the back seat while I drive. This made me feel really nervous but I agreed anyway, knowing it’s something that I have to deal with and overcome.

 

So off we drove through a number of turns, mentally mapping out the road so I’d know my way back.  My dad agreed to just drop me off and trusted me much to reach home on my own at the end of the day, “unscathed”.

 

I was used to having my dad in the passenger seat, but with him seated at the back made me feel less secured and less confident. Once in a while I’d look in the rearview mirror and see his eyes focused on the road. For some reason, he’d instinctively know when I’d feel confused or quite unsure of how to make it through the busy streets. On those occasions, he would lean forward and with his head next to mine, would gently coach me.  Oblivious to the noise and chaos outside, my dad’s voice remained calm, certain and trustworthy. Leaning into his words took away the panic and fear. I was sure I could drive on and make it through.

 

Some weeks later I asked dad, “Why did you choose to sit at the back and not beside me”? He said, “So I could see what you see. That way, I could guide you better”.

 

At first, it didn’t make sense. But thinking about it now, my dad was right. There’s a wider gap between the driver and the passenger seat, compared to, where my dad was seated leaning forward.

 

This experience taught me a great deal about assessing my own life. From time to time I’d mentally take a step back and see my actual self, heading towards somewhere and figuring out if the road indeed leads to my true north. Sometimes this requires a thorough review of what I’ve accumulated in my life at every point, and then stripping myself away of almost all of it, barring the essentials.

 

I know it’s a long road, but if I’m to truly enjoy the journey, I have to travel light, I have to be more present, and take every precious moment in as if it’s the very last time.

 

So this is it for me.  

Fewer photos, more experience.

Fewer words, more meaning.

Fewer complaints, more thank you’s 

Less hate, more love.

Fewer distractions, more quietness

Less of everything, more of my true thing.

 

Question:

How about you my dear friend?  What trade-offs are you making? What have you said no to so you could say yes to something far more important and meaningful? Comment here. I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

I was maneuvering my car out of the building one day when I came face to face with an unexpected obstacle- a large pile of sand dumped on the driveway.

I was struck.

For a moment I tried to understand why someone would actually think this was a good idea.  Flustered, I eased my way out, fortunate enough to get some help from a  man nearby.

The drive to my workplace went on, in what felt like a trip to Anger City.  I kept thinking about the situation and the sensible options that the men responsible have had and should’ve taken.  “It’s a thoughtless act”, my mind pleaded.

Halfway through my journey, I caved in. I’ve acknowledged the fact that, it is what it is, yet hoped to change the situation if I can.  I prayed, really hard, just because it’s too difficult to pray when you’re on the verge of getting mad. I asked for patience, for forgiveness, for tolerance, and I prayed for a miracle.  Yes, a miracle- for a wonderful day despite an off start.

Less than half an hour, the brewing anger was gone. I parked the car and did my devotion.The issue slipped my mind until I came home later that day and saw the sand pile still there.

The area it now occupies reduced by a foot and a half. Not much, but certainly was an improvement.  I stepped out of the car, a bit frustrated. I approached the man-in-charge and discussed the problem with him. He quickly said, “Everything will be gone by morning”. I trusted his word and retired the night peacefully.

I woke up the next day hopeful as always and guess what I found at the parking area.  You can’t miss it, sand pile still there! I thought everybody else must have complained. The rest of the cars in the area are much bigger and longer than mine.  Well, I had two options at that point in time, look for a shovel and deal with it myself, or just drive my way out again like the day before.  Sadly, I didn’t have the luxury of time to play hero, so I opted for the latter choice.

Experiences such as this made me realize two things.

First:  Knowingly or unknowingly, we create unnecessary obstacles for people around us. This happens when:

-we refuse to help a genuine need even if we can,

-when we irresponsibly carry out our tasks,

-when we don’t deliver our promises on time or when we don’t deliver at all,

-when we don’t go the extra mile even if our strength allows us,

-when we don’t put in the effort to exceed a leader’s or a client’s expectations or at least meet what’s being required.

In other words, this is the case whenever we fall short of the ideal standards we all do know.

Second: When we get too consumed with our own little world and our own comfort, it’s easy to complain about the slightest of nuisances.  This stems from being used to a pampered existence.

We rarely give allowances to people’s mistakes.

We find it difficult to forgive a  non-life-threatening wrongdoing.

We give our all, to petty fights.

We argue a lot.

We quickly go into tantrums like a kid not getting a candy treat on Christmas day.

We got this far knowing this shouldn’t be the case. We are blessed enough to breathe, to walk, to smell, to eat and to see.

The basics. The important.

As I was still brooding from the past days’ trouble I discovered an extra 100 bucks in my bank account. Puzzled, I checked to find out what it was. Surprisingly, I got a cash back from the bank for debit card purchases in the past two months!  Awesome, right?!  Then I realized, perhaps God knew all along that I’d be pretty annoyed when the sand pile incident happens. So this is Him telling me to not sweat it out and get over it. And maybe, just maybe, He would have liked me to go and buy myself an ice cream!

So, that’s what I did. I suppose I’m not so grown up after all, 😀