It’s an ongoing lesson – traveling the road of life without regret or anger and without grumbles over the lack of everything we think we should have – money, love, non-dysfunctional family members, the best job in the world, a $500,000 home and a Harley in the garage. Our human nature wants to focus on ruing the day and grumbling about what’s wrong in our lives or what’s wrong with everyone else. Being a positive and content person takes determination, courage and, in my life, prayer.
I used to live with someone who made it his life’s goal to be negative, angry and discontent with most everyone and everything. The news made him angry, he resented what other people had (that he didn’t), and he grumbled when he had to wait an extra 5 minutes for his food at the restaurant – all of which made him miserable and depressed. Happiness only came to him with material possessions and when others catered to his narcissistic desires. How do you live your life, year after year, with those awful emotions? It was difficult to live alongside of it, similar to being dragged under water by an angry anchor. I eventually had to cut the rope and swim to safety.
Shortly after separating from my now ex-husband, I remember sitting on my friend’s bed (where I was staying) behind a closed door. So many thoughts flooded my brain – of regret and the coexisting anger I felt for 30 years wasted. That’s what I began to tell myself – I wasted 30 years. Wasted! I sat in that for awhile and, strangely, a desire to forgive enveloped the regrets, chewed them up, and spit them out on the wood floor. I’m wasn’t sure what came over me in that moment, but I now attribute it to my faith and the beginning of release from anger, stress and regret. I was taking the road toward a peace and contentment that I had not known for many years.
That was over three years ago. The decision to forgive my ex-husband for his behavior, to forgive the financial losses due to divorce, and to let go of regret was a most excellent decision. I was able to let go of the crappy pieces of my past and embark on the rest of my life.
This is not the end of the story, only a piece. It’s not as though I’m always happy, always peaceful, always contented 24/7. Remember . . . ongoing lesson. I’m on a road of finding appropriate responses to my occasional fits of inappropriate anger, not allowing regret to seep back into my thought process, and not grumbling when the slowpoke driver ahead of me is obeying the speed limit.
Sunday’s sermon at The Mission Church, where I attend, was “The Season of our Discontent.” (click on the link if you’re interested in the full message). Human discontentment goes back to biblical times, when being freed from slavery and having the Red Sea parted by God just wasn’t enough to make a band of Israelites happy. Humans are like that today, possibly worse. We are discontent when there isn’t enough creme filling in our Oreo cookie or our favorite reality show contestant is voted out. We grumble when taking out the trash or washing windows isn’t on our “I want to do something exciting today” list. We get angry when our iPod doesn’t work or we get behind that slowpoke driver AGAIN! Grrrrr! And our regrets can be numerous, questioning what we perceive to be bad choices, focusing on “what could have been” in our lives. That would be incredibly easy for me to do given my experiences. It would also be incredibly easy for me to be bitter, angry, resentful, regretful and Miss Grumblepants for the rest of my life. But why? What is the purpose in so much negativity?
Would being bitter and angry make me happy? Would regrets make me happy about my life? Would resenting others give me a positive thought process? Would grumbling all of the time sit well with my boss and coworkers? Would my friends like my grumbling? Would I have any friends if I kept grumbling? Would I ever be content if I was always discontent? My answer is “No!” I don’t want to engage in any of those behaviors or be that person. I want to be laid back, carefree, a smile of some degree always on my face. I want to be the person that never gets stressed or angry about little things, never has any regrets. I want sunshine and rainbows to float over my head while I contentedly dance the happy dance.
Back to the ongoing lesson. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.
It hasn’t been easy living as a single person – the financial side of life has been more difficult than I thought it would be – however, I would not give up my current life to return to the life I once held as a wife to Mr. Crabbypants. Not for anything. When discontentment and angry resentment try to enter my psyche, it’s given a swift kick by thoughts of everything that is good in my life and that is . . .
I have a wealth of good & plenty in family, friends and faith – in a life that is 99% happy (I reserve 1% for human bad hair days). No anger, regrets or grumbles, for the most part – only a box of licorice and a smile upon my black teeth.
(MaryJMelange is an equal opportunity blog. If you would prefer to be bitter on this day, feel free to ignore my blog and visit Ben’s Bitter Blog. It’s bitterly fun.)