Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Profound Words - Forgiveness
My problems in life haven't been nearly that serious, but I do know what it feels like to carry a ton of hatred. The only person it weighs down is me. You see, in 2002, two fellow co-workers and I were sued by another for racial discrimination. We had worked alongside this person for eight years and never treated her any differently than we treated one another. In fact, there were many times I toted her work home to help her manage her load. What's worse, like the mother in the case above, my employer turned a blind eye when they knew trouble was brewing years before. Why they didn't call us in and discuss it, was beyond me. We lost three valuable employees because of her and her inability to get along and had even gone to mediation three times on our own to try to resolve any issues she had. The entire time, she insisted she had none. I was so certain that after 20 plus years of proven exemplary service, my employer would comply with my request (and doctor's orders) to work apart from her. Wrong!
It's a long terrible story, and I didn't have the mental strength to remain without confronting her and asking WHY. I eventually took an early retirement, and every month when my check comes I see what her selfish actions cost me. What's worse... I still have no idea what I did to her. I was handed the "papers" from the attorney and instructed to continue working with her as I had in the past, not ask any questions, nor discuss the case with anyone outside the university attorneys.
My best friend and a person named in the suit died in 2003 from Pancreatic Cancer. The person suing us had the nerve to come to Pat's memorial service. I bit my tongue and gave my eulogy for a friend who died way too young, and probably from the added stress of being sued. Guess who I blamed.
The one person who remained of the three is now the head of the department...something I might have achieved had I been a stronger person. The person who sued? She has my job. I find it laughable since she couldn't even handle her own, but now I can pity her instead of hate her. She's the one who has to live with what she's done, but then maybe she has no conscience. Mine is clear.
In a moment of hatred, I had planned to write a book entitled "Souled Out" about my experience at the University of California. I intended to name names and tell my story...resolution and retribution, but that idea would only dredge up more pain and angst for me and serve no purpose. I'm not a litigious person, but I wish I had sued my employer for letting things get so far. How can you fix something when you don't know it's broken?
What Oprah said made perfect sense. To find peace you have to find forgiveness, BUT forgiveness doesn't mean you want that person back in your life, it simply means that you accept that the past cannot be any different than it was. That's a tall order, but when you think about it, you can lighten your load and ease the burden you've carried with you. I accept that the past can never change, I can't go back and fix anything, but I can let it go and move on.
So, thanks to Oprah, I forgive ******. There is something to be said for peace of mind. Oh, and Glynda...I forgive you, too.