Miracle #34 - Love Holds No Grievances
Guilt reared it's ugly little head this week.
March has been a month of company for us at our new home in Texas. We have had a constant stream of visitors and it has been a lot of fun, but the last round triggered a deeply hidden resentment.
My husband's brother and his wife flew down from snowy Pennsylvania to bask in the Houston sun for a few days. When I learned that they wanted to also visit San Antonio and Galveston during their stay, I thought they were crazy.
Didn't they realize how big the state of Texas was?
Didn't they know that they were going to spend half of their 4-day visit in the car, just driving to get from place to place?
My husband said that it was their vacation to spend as they pleased, so I dropped it.
Next, there was some confusion in the guest bathroom. They asked what to do with their wet towels. I said they could hang them up to dry.
They looked startled and told me that they used a fresh towel every day at home.
Immediately I felt like a bad hostess and got into a mood.
The following day they returned from San Antonio 4 hours before I expected them. I hadn't shopped or cooked or prepared in any way.
Why didn't they have to courtesy to let me know that they would be here for dinner?
Again, I felt like the world's worst hostess.
My husband smoothed things over by suggesting that we eat out.
Finally, things came to a head while we were relaxing in the hot tub. My sister-in-law expressed strong political convictions that in no way coincided with mine.
I went to bed feeling judged and criticized.
This morning I was reflecting on my perceptions and how they were not based on reality. My sister-in-law speaks her mind, but she didn't say anything critical about me. Her tone is authoritative and assertive, but I perceived it as judgmental.
I suddenly realized where all the drama was coming from!
I recalled the first time I met my sister-in-law in 1993. She was not yet engaged to my husband's brother, and he wanted to know what we thought of her. My husband diplomatically side-stepped the question, but I spoke my mind, authoritatively, assertively, and with plenty of judgment.
I realized that I had felt guilty about this incident for the past 26 years, and that it had colored my perception of my sister-in-law. I was always on the defense, expecting her to judge me back, without even realizing it.
A Course in Miracles says:
You never hate your brother for his sins, but only for your own.
This passage suddenly became clear to me!
I had judged my sister-in-law when we first met, and the guilt about my judgment had made every future meeting seem like a confrontation. But it was all just a projection of my mind.
I only needed to forgive myself in order to release myself from bondage. Possibly no one remembered this incident except for me. Certainly, returning to it mentally did not serve me.
I can't describe the relief that I felt to see the cause of the problem, and to know the certainty of the solution. I can tell you that going forward I expect to have an entirely new relationship.
Thank You, Holy Spirit
Only the self-accused condemn. - Text Chapter 31, Section III