PASCO -- Years ago, somebody was courageous enough to tell me how angry I was.
A housekeeper at the hospital where I was working stopped me, saying, "Onie, who are you angry with?"
Surprised, I asked him, "Why do you say that?"
He showed me my tight fist.
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"Did you not know you have been walking this hallway with a tight fist?"
Wow! I was not aware that I was walking tense, angry. I opened my hands and felt light and smiledat the guy and thanked him.
That day, I thought I needed to do something about my anger. But what could I do?
Forgive? No way! My boss had really hurt me badly. But I did not like what anger was doing to me. Forgiveness would be difficult, but it was more difficult to carry the heavy burden of anger and hatred. I could not feel alive, happy and joyful. I resolved to forgive her.
Determined to take care of my anger, I set my pager to remind me every hour on the hour to ask God for the grace of forgiveness.
By midnight, I woke up and sensed God's overwhelming love for me and I cried unstoppable tears of joy. My husband woke up puzzled about my tears.
"I feel this surge of emotions of God's love and forgiveness. I feel ready to forgive Virginia and forgive myself for what happened between us."
I savored that great moment. I thanked God for giving me this tremendous grace before I parted ways with my boss. I then tendered my resignation with two weeks' notice. My plan was to see her the next day, which was my last day. So, when I went to see her and shared my forgiveness of her, I was not surprised with her reaction.
"How can you ever forgive me? I was really nasty to you," Virginia said.
I responded, "It's OK. I forgive you and forgive myself for allowing you to be nasty to me."
But she found it hard to accept forgiveness.
It did not matter to me. I was happy that I was able to tell her what was in my heart. The joy and happiness came back to me. The anger and hurt that weighed me down went away. I was freed from bondage of that hurtand I was able to move on, find a better place to work and start anew.
It may be difficult to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but nothing can bring us more peace. We know by the examples of Jesus that this is what he wants us to do.
In Rabindranath Tagore's words and prayers, I feel the heart of God, "Give me the supreme confidence of love -- the confidence that belongs to life in death, to victory in defeat, to the power hidden in the frailest beauty, to that dignity in pain which accepts hurt but disdains to return it."
* Sonia Mision-Reed is director of pastoral care at Lourdes Health Network in Pasco.
Questions and comments should be directed to Spiritual Life editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email email@example.com.