One day while getting myself camera ready to go out on the town with my husband, I had a surprise visit from our granddaughter, Elle. In the time it took to make over Nana, Elle shared some of the biggest concerns which were weighing her down. I was all ears!
“Nana,” said Elle, “A friend said that I am fat.”
I took a quick glance at her, and then trying to be the ‘Cool Nana’ I replied, “No way!” Then, second-guessing my response as too outdated, I responded in a more serious, adult manner. “Elle,” I said, “You are not fat at all; if anything you are too thin.” I continued, “Elle that was not a very nice thing for your friend to say.”
Elle’s eyes got wide. I could see that she wanted to get her words out before she burst into tears. The tears flowed freely as she added, “Nana, my friend hurt my heart.”
I knew Elle was wounded on the inside. I also knew the importance of my response. I weighed my words carefully. “I am so sorry Elle,” I said as I hugged her tight.
I handed Elle a tissue and as she dried her tears I continued, “Elle, do you know what Nana does when someone hurts her heart?” Elle shook her head no. “When a person hurts my heart, I go to them and talk about it. Sometimes they ask my forgiveness or we try to figure out a way we can do things differently. Our goal is always to be friends again. Did you tell your friend how that comment made you feel?”
Elle shook her head again.
I added, “This is the most important part, Elle. After I go to my friend, I go to Jesus. I tell Him the whole story in detail. ‘Dear Jesus my friend hurt my heart when she said …!’ then I forgive my friend because I know how Jesus always forgives me. Jesus loves you very much, Elle, and He loves your friend too.”
Elle began to smile and I believe a healing began in her heart.
Communication is essential when relating to others, especially if they are family. No two people are alike, and assuming they are is a guaranteed walk into enemy territory. Relationships can be uplifting and encouraging or sometimes hurtful and explosive.
“In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3: 5-8)
As my daughter Charity says, “One must know when to fold and when to hold.” She and her husband Ryan are parents to six children and communication is their strong suit.
Communication is an art anyone can achieve. Both listening between the lines and praying that you will hear the other person’s heart are two keys to communication. My husband says, “If you relate to people, you will have relationship problems.” He also reminds me that “hurting people hurt people.” What do you think? I think my husband is right!
When a person is offended they usually mull over the conversation in their mind. This is the best time to repair it. The relationship is restored. However if they avoid both the other person and repairing the relationship, hurt remains in their heart. It affects them and how they relate to the other person. Neither may be aware of how it has affected them. When Jesus was asked how many times we must forgive, he replied, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Mt.18:22)
Relationships kept in the light are great. We “forgive and forget” when they are broken. Sometimes we are caught unaware by past hurts. Old wounds are re-opened, words fly and sometimes someone hurts our heart. A heart full of hurt can build up bitterness towards others. Frequent confession and prayer opens the door for Jesus to heal the hurt.
This past month I was blessed to listen to a CatholicMom Facebook Live video. After I was finished I decided to listen again. In the video, Lisa Henley Jones suggests that you pick a word to work on all year. Listening to the video was the easy part; selecting my word took prayer.
Guess what I will be working on this year? Forgiveness, of course, is my prayerful choice. As past hurts get healed and new hurts forgiven, I am hoping to be a new woman.
“A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit.” (Ps. 51:12)
Has someone hurt your heart? What do you do when someone hurts it? The more we empty ourselves from hurt and from sin, the more room there is for Jesus to come in. Let the healing begin!
What virtue will you choose in 2019? God makes all things new, but it is up to you to work with His grace.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Copyright 2019 Ellen Mongan