“A father and son from a small European Country are visiting the United States and are in a major shopping center. Their excitement at all the things they see that are new to them is heightened by two highly polished walls that move apart and come together again.
The young boy asks his father what they are and the father says he does not know. Just then the walls separate and an elderly woman walks in between them and the walls close. A few minutes later the walls once again separate and a vivacious beautiful young woman walks out.
The father is very quiet and then says to his son, “I really don’t know what they are, but we need to get one for your mother”.
It would be natural to ask what the subject of Anger and Forgiveness have to do with the journey through life and why it needs to be discussed as part of the Preparation for Old Age.
If you stop and think about it, some of the most painful periods of our lives revolve around these very issues. As I interviewed people of all ages for my Book the term “Dysfunctional’, Bitter, “Disruptive”, “ Hate” etc., were commonly used in answer to my questions about family relationships, personal friendships and business dealings.
And do not think for a moment that our children do not see and hear our reaction to such relationships and end up factoring our resentments into their future handling of similar circumstances.
One cannot read the stories told in the Old and New Testaments, as well as other historical documents about life through the ages, without recognizing that since the beginning of our existence, the issues of anger and forgiveness have caused much distress to mankind and have been a major factor in the breakup of families as well as their reconciliation.
There is the story told of a young man who, while attending the 50th wedding anniversary of a family friend, jokingly asked the husband of the celebrants if, during his long marriage, he had ever considered divorce. The man quickly answered “Divorce, never. Murder, numerous times.”
How many times in your lifetime has someone you know – family or friend – done something to you that clearly made you angry enough to not want them to be in your life?
Recently, I met a dear friend 85 years of age. She told me that, while engaged in a social card game with another woman her age, the other party realized she had no money and
my friend loaned her 50 cents which the woman said she would pay back, but never did.
My friend told me how angry she was at the other party and I asked her if it was worth getting herself so upset over such a ridiculous matter. She could not contain herself. I can never understand why we human beings allow ourselves to end relationships and even worse impair our own well being over what, in almost all situations of anger, are so insignificant in the whole picture of life.
“Many people lose their tempers merely from seeing you keep yours”
Frank Moore Kelly
There is a very active widower in his 80’s who had just a few months earlier lost the woman he adored in their 30th year of marriage. While not actively seeking a new romance, he met a woman who completely captivated him.
In the process of advancing a relationship with her, he became overzealous and upset this beautiful woman to the point where she broke off the relationship and ceased speaking to him.
After taking some time to evaluate how important the relationship was to him, and what he could have done differently to enhance it, he decided that the only way to try to rectify the situation was to take full responsibility for what had happened. Even though he sincerely believed that not all of the blame fell on him, he determined it was not worth pointed fingers when what he desired was reconciliation.
As of this writing, following his taking that responsibility, the door to a friendship between the parties has been reopened.
In my lifetime, I have seen the most incredible examples of true love lost, family breakups, and painful relationships taken to the grave over the unwillingness to reconcile differences: over what, in the entire picture of life, are petty issues involving nothing more than hurt egos.
“Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace”
Sometimes, when things go wrong in a relationship, in the scheme of things, being angry and right will cause you long term pain while moving on and enjoying may be the better of solutions.
Bernie also is an advisor to families needing information on Senior Living Facilities and other issues related to Aging. Bernie can be reached at Seymour.Otis@gmail.com–818-519-8347