A text message arrives from out of the blue. It reads– "Hi, how are you? I hope you are well."
I look at the number: it's from a girl whom I had had a ‘thing’ with. Last time we talked, long story short, we argued and I felt it would be best for us to part ways.
This text message is completely unexpected; but truly, a welcome surprise. About a year has passed since our last conversation. In that time I had come to realize there was no point in holding a grudge against her: the best course of action would be to accept her for who she was. In a sense, I forgave her. Or maybe I just stopped wishing she would act in a way I wanted her to act. Either way, it would be safe to say I came to terms with her and let go of our past relationship - which I had been clinging to. My God forgiveness is tough work; but Holy Smokes is it a relief! Being able to look squarely and evenly at a person who was once associated with painful emotions is amazing. You realize directly that you have grown with the passage of time and for the better.
Fast-forward: we are having a delightful conversation over coffee. We walk through a neighborhood, visit my old preschool, tell stories of our families, and talk about the changing gender roles. I can sense a subtle yet powerful change in the woman I’m with. It seems as though she has quietly acknowledged the pain she has experienced and is willingly facing it head on. There is determination to change and avoid past mistakes. She is accepting her past and herself. Props to her!
We end up siting down by small pond whereupon this wonderful woman really begins opening up, talking about her passions and what is important to her. In many parts of the world women are treated extremely unfairly, cruelly even. Unable to get an education they remain stuck poverty. Often their sexuality is controlled, repressed, or they are the victims of assault or rape. I’m getting all this information from a Ted Talk by Carmel Jud titled ‘ending the global oppression of women’.
This woman I am sitting down with is getting involved with these programs that enable women in impoverished places to sell hand-crafted high-quality goods in wealthier nations. The income they earn helps support their families and community. Their website is risinginternational.com.
I bought two bracelets off their site to help their cause (and to help support my friend). I was hoping to give one to her but I didn’t see her again. To be frank, I don’t know if our paths will ever cross again, but nevertheless, I am inspired by the personal change she has exhibited and the nobility of her cause.
Back to the circularity of time theme mentioned in the previous article: you have to be ready for the moments when the splinters of suffering can be removed. If I had not been open and working towards forgiveness and acceptance; if I had maintained a grudge, then I would not have experienced her kindness and inspiration. We would not have become the friends we are today.