Viviendo en la Claridad: “Drops of Wisdom”

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It was Good Friday when an elderly woman reflected on the crossed that many people carry on in their daily lives. Entire families went to church to venerate the image of Jesus defeated by a heavy cross and a crown over his head. Some even stayed overnight at the park in their sleeping bags. Every year was the same, visitors from all over the world came; they observed the traditions and prayed to Christ and His angels.

“Ay mija!”, said the old woman to her granddaughter, “Many people suffer the weight of their own cross. They come here to pray and hit their chest, yet they forget that no suffering can end unless they change.

“Many live with the cross of fear. A fear to pursuing their most precious dreams. Sometimes they take the first step, but give up after a failure in the first attempt. They do not understand that failing is an opportunity for learning and perfecting, and that perseverance ultimately leads to success. Others hold on to a job that no longer fulfills them, yet they let years pass by, staying in the same place fearing otherwise loosing a safety net.

There is also the cross that results from deceit. Some live in adultery either with someone of the same or of the opposite sex. They are slowly consumed in feelings of regret, and the fear of getting caught. Sometimes, when deception comes to light, many partners pretend to remain in the dark to avoid confrontations. Their silence then becomes a cross of martyrdom that feeds the same deceit that robs their sleep.

“And what about those whose lives revolve around non-stop work, blinded by the desire for more power, success and money. They neglect spending time with good friends and family. By the time they realize their mistake, the damage is done. They lose friends and partners, and even their children have become equally busy women and men. They all went on with their lives, and are gone.

“Some grown-ups merciless judge their parents for their mistakes, even though they might have done their best to raise them, based on the tools and knowledge available at the time. Yet when their parents grow old, they always find excuses to have someone else taking care of them. They forget that one day their own daughters and sons will be the ones wearing the judge’s robe.

“Other people assume a victim’s role, blaming their misfortunes on others and the circumstances, even when they themselves might be the cause of many. They take as much advantage as possible, claiming having the right for ‘not being equally fortunate.’ They never take responsibility for their actions, and so, they make no attempt to amend their mistakes. In the end, they die wondering why everybody else ran away from them.

“Some people go from one relationship to the other, and end up living alone. They convinced themselves that they were not born to love, although love may have knocked their door and it was them who let it go. Perhaps, in their inability to love themselves they were also unable to love someone else.

“I myself carried several crosses. The heaviest one of all was that of resentment against your grandpa for mistreating and cheating on me, despite my devotion for him. I too came here on Good Fridays, begging for the miracle of his change. In the end I realize two things: First, I had the option of walking away and starting a new life of my own to heal the pain of his betrayal, yet I chose to stay. And second, resentment hurts nobody but the person that holds it inside; it can be as mortal as the poison of a venomous snake.

“Fortunately, God or life gave me enough time to make peace, with myself and others, while I can still walk and breath. I am still learning and growing, but I no longer carry any  cross. I feel the relief that comes from forgiveness: a forgiveness that we also grant others once we acknowledge our own vulnerability to do wrong. Or else, as the Bible says: ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’”

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About the author

Laura Figueroa

Laura was born in Guatemala and immigrated to the US at age 21 to redesign her life from the bottom-up. Her first jobs in this country included housekeeping and babysitting until she learned the language. Eventually she went back to school and earned a BA in Psychology at California State University and an MBA at Walden University. Laura has worked in the HIV field in different capacities and with people from diverse backgrounds since 1996. First with LA Shanti as Programs Manager and then with John Snow Incorporated in Colorado where she provided capacity building for several ASOs in the Midwest and conducted HIV national trainings. She also did independent consulting work and motivational speaking, Prior to joining Gilead she worked at Boheringer Ingelheim for 2 ½ years, first as Community Liaison and later as HIV National Accounts Manager. Laura is a columnist for xQsí Magazine and a contributing writer to the book Gathering Round the Fire.

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