Second Calling: Making Peace With the Past – Part II
- Monday, May 15, 2006
I felt as if I had been shown a tape of a situation, and the images playing on the screen were completely different than my memory of them. Maybe the breakdown in our friendship hadn’t been so sudden. Of course I remember her not going to lunch with the group, but it had never occurred to me that I was the reason. She had said she was too busy. And she had still called me whenever she needed help. But apparently others saw that she was pulling away from me. Worse, when I asked my friends for feedback about the situation, they could tell that I was asking for comfort, not truth.
Changing Reality After the Fact
I was seeing the power of my self-deception as I went through this process. There are other steps in Katie’s process that may be helpful to some, but the most powerful piece for me was yet to come. After all the testing for truth in “The Work,” Katie then suggests a final step, called “The Turnaround.” Turning the remaining statements around is an incredibly powerful but very difficult part of the process. I can’t do it effectively without much prayer and prompting by the Holy Spirit. So I enter what is called “The Turnaround” only after I have asked the Lord to guide me through it.
Whatever statements remain are now turned around. For example, Mary wasn’t very loyal to me is turned around to I wasn’t very loyal to Mary. My immediate reaction to this was denial and even a bit of frustration. Of course I was loyal to Mary. So I prayed, “Lord, show me if there was ever a time I wasn’t loyal to Mary.” I really meant it, and the Lord answered my prayer. I remembered a time when I had told another friend I couldn’t be somewhere because I had to help Mary. Wow. All of a sudden, I realized that I said things like that to make myself look needed. But was that fair to Mary? Wasn’t I possibly making her look needy,
weak, and vulnerable? It hit me like a ton of bricks. Statement after statement, when I prayed and asked God to show me, turned out to be true of me more than Mary.
All of a sudden, I was faced with an undeniable truth: I was the one who had wronged Mary. I had wanted to feel needed and to appear strong. I had fostered a classic codependent relationship, and she had finally come to the point where she couldn’t stand it anymore. Maybe her actions weren’t perfect, but I was hardly innocent. In fact, much of the hurt surrounding our relationship suddenly presented itself to me as lies I had told myself.
So I did something I could never have imagined doing before. Instead of waiting for the apology from Mary that had never come, I wrote a letter to her. I tried to keep it simple and about me. I apologized for times I had encouraged her dependence on me. I confessed disloyalty and dishonesty. I didn’t go into great detail, but I did tell her that after all this time, I now realized how much I was responsible for the breakdown of our friendship. I asked for her forgiveness for the things I had done. I told her that I didn’t need to hear from her, but if she felt she could forgive me, that would be great.
It would be wonderful if I could tell you that Mary called me and we were reconciled. We weren’t. She sent me a brief note thanking me for my letter. Months before, I would have seen the note as one more indication that Mary was being insensitive to me. But I was not hurt by her response. I had done my part to right the situation, and it was as if what was once a festering wound had been cleaned out and was now able to heal. I was now able to move on.
When Mary’s name comes up occasionally, it causes me no pain. I can think of her without a sense of open-endedness. I have now learned from the pain, and I hope I have learned to be a better friend in the future. God used thatold, open wound to show me some powerful truths about myself. And above all, he showed me that I cannot always be trusted to see myself clearly.
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