Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Case For Grace

I was always a vengeance sort of girl. There was something deeply and uniquely satisfying about dealing with a problem by leaving a piece of scorched earth. Issue? Solved. Quickly and efficiently and with a good dose of catharsis thrown in as the icing on the cake. You see, it wasn't enough that a person be wrong. They must know without a doubt they were wrong. Other people had to know they were wrong. It had to be done quickly, and it had to completely eliminate the chances that anything like that would ever happen again. To paraphrase Ender Wiggin, the first punch was to stop that fight, the rest were to stop any others that might happen. And there was just so much I wanted to say.

And it worked. But not really.

The collateral damage was high. There was no chance of reconciliation with the person who had wronged me. While it felt good at the time, eventually guilt and remorse would kick in. So, things changed.

I started a business. There are people involved in this business that I don't like. There are people who engage in shady business practises, who are just damned abrasive, who are unprofessional, who have unreasonable expectations, who break promises. There was even one who headed up one heck of  a Salem style witch hunt against me. And man, sometimes I just want to put them in their place. But I can't. I have a business. Which means I have to be professional. There's way too few bridges in this microcosm of the publishing world to start burning some to the ground. So I learned to moderate myself. I made mistakes along the way.

I had a family. I didn't want to reflect badly on them. I didn't want my children caught in any crossfire. I wanted them to enjoy the stress-free holidays that I didn't. I wanted their lives to be filled with joy and ease. I had done a couple of things that were irreparable and didn't want to do more. I wanted people to be proud of me. So I learned to moderate. I made a few mistakes along the way.

I grew closer to God. For me, that means extending the grace I am so freely given. That's the biggest tenant of the Faith, for me. No matter what I do, He will forgive me. He will bless me. No matter who I am, he will love me. So, I tried to emulate that. I made A LOT of mistakes along the way.

I am now in a situation where there cannot be mistakes. There cannot be missteps. The stakes are way higher than anything I've ever encountered. A huge amount of damage has already been done, outside of my control. And oh, man, I want the vengeance. There are so many lies being spread and so so much I WANT TO SAY. I want to hurt those who hurt the ones I love. But I can't. I cannot. So, while actions have consequences, I am doing my best to move with grace and dignity. I have to trust the judgement of the people I love. I can trust them to see the truth. I have to trust in God that He knows the truth and will act in truth and justice and love, especially when it is difficult for me to do the latter two. To hold my tongue. To walk slowly. It's not cathartic. It's not fast. It's not efficient. But you know what? I feel better at the end of it. I can look around at the end of the day and say "I did good." I can turn to my loved ones after engaging in more grace and dignity than I thought I could and say "did you see that?" And they say "yes, that was awesome." I can help my loved ones heal the wound, protect them from further wounds, but not accidentally create more.

And it's working. Slowly. Painfully. Diligently. But it's working.

Vengeance? That was effective in it's way. But I'll take grace.

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