Miracle #34 - Love Holds No Grievances

Photo credit:  Felix Koutchinski

Photo credit: Felix Koutchinski

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