Have you ever had your heart broken?
Maybe a relationship didn't work out the way you had hoped, or you missed an incredible opportunity that you had been waiting for.
When hopes and dreams don't come to pass, one can quickly sink into grief, disappointment and resentment, and withdraw one's heart for fear of being hurt again.
An unexpected injury
As part of my translation course this semester, I poured my time and heart into researching and writing a magnificent essay about translating Aboriginal Dreamtime stories ethically and respectfully. I had done enough work to write a much longer essay, but this one was only 2,000 words, so I looked to other (longer) translation analysis article proportions and decided that I would make half of the essay theory, and half analysis.
However, when the marked essay was returned to me, I saw that I had lost 10% of the total marks on the choice to have a longer theoretical section and less analysis in this shorter piece. I was quite upset about it and brooded for the rest of the day.
The choice to brood left me feeling grumpy, irritable, incompetent and doubtful of my writing abilities—totally irrational thoughts, as the lecturer had specifically commented on my excellent research and writing skills. The mark was also very high, but lower than what I had been hoping for.
The arrow that inflicted the wound
Had my lecturer been out to get me? No, not at all. Had I put in a half-hearted effort? By no means. I had simply made a less-than-ideal choice about the essay structure due to trying out a new genre, and had received helpful feedback to assist me in further developing my written skills. The barb that stung was the self-judgement.
The prison of pain
You see, whenever we feel hurt or injured (by ourselves, others, or a situation), there is always an underlying judgement that comes from unmet expectations of what 'should have been'. Judgement leads to pride, unforgiveness and offense, and locks us in a prison of emotional pain and suffering, even where no offense was intended.
In the book of James (chapter 4, verse 6), we learn that 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble'. Who would want to put themselves against the Almighty himself through holding on to pride? Not me!
Opening the door...
Letting go of my pride and seeing the situation for what it was—the gift of a learning experience that would help me with future writing—unlocked the door to the cage of judgement that I had put myself in. However, I still needed a way to heal my grumpy little soul.
Healing the wound
Remembering the sermon on this topic from only the day before (funny how God gives us opportunities to try out his principles as we learn them...), I considered the concept of 'forgiveness'. Who had I been judging? Who did I need to forgive?
I came to the realisation that I needed to forgive in order to heal. I needed to forgive the lecturer in my heart (I had been resenting her marking even through it was fair), I needed to forgive myself for making the mistake in the first place, and I needed to forgive myself for my judgement and resentment, which had indirectly affected my family and friends all day. I also needed to apologise to them for this. Being absorbed in my own little self-inflicted problem, I had not been able to offer my heart to the ones that love me the most. And then, of course, I needed to use the essay-proportion lesson for the next assignment to avoid problems in the future.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that God's forgiveness is dependent upon us forgiving others—including ourselves (The Lord's Prayer, Matthew chapter 6, verses 9b–14).
It is a hard call, but the rewards of complete forgiveness are overwhelming peace and the ability to maintain relationships with God, ourselves, and those around us. After all, isn't this the Father's entire plan for salvation?
Rosanne Menacho has a keen interest in sustainable and healthy living, and enjoys learning new languages. She is studying a Masters of Interpreting and Translation at Monash University and is loving every minute of it. Rosanne lives with her husband and Staffordshire terrier in the outer south-east of Melbourne, Australia.
Rosanne Menacho's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rosanne-menacho.html