by the grace of god. i remember being a young student at st. pious x school and the then principal, was speaking to the entire school and she used the term by the grace of god. i didn’t know what that meant, i was only in the 2nd grade but something about grace and god stood out. later that night i asked my dad about it and he took the time to explain it in a way a curious 7-year old could understand.
as i got older i found that “by the grace of god” and “in the end, only kindness matters” have been quotes (mantras if you will) that i find myself falling back to time and time again. another is “kindness is possible even when fondness is not”.
the last 48-hours, as i have had some freedom to try to catch up on the bloggers and tumblrs that i follow, it struck me how many are having moments of doubt, self-recrimination, anger and every other visceral emotion that at times, can overwhelm and challenge even the strongest individual. one in particular, struck me as she was having a good old rage in her post and yet she ended it with asking the hater’s and the self-righteous judger’s that tend to leave her hate mail to give her a break. she’s having a rough go of it. it was clear from her writing that she’s in a lot of pain. and has been. she just needed to vent in the anonymity that the blogosphere offers.
it made me pause. have i been as kind as i can be even as my own world seems to be pushing towards an implosion? we all have our own stories, our own issues and we are all human with feelings and the capacity to love greatly and hurt deeply. and then i remember, that by the grace of god i go and truly, in the end, only kindness matters.
I am so very, very saddened to hear that you’re going through what you’re going through. I feel for you, deeply, and I think of you. On a side note I am quite shocked as to the non-supportive comments you keep getting… I will only acknowledge what I know: you have acted on your needs and your impulses, it’s deeply human. We all get both get hurt and hurt others during the course of a lifetime, it’s inevitable – and sometimes it happens within the confines of marriage, sometimes outside of it… the mere term “marriage” does not make a person superhuman, or rid her of needs for intimacy, connection, eroticism and attention. I’m not saying cheating is not an issue, but I am saying it’s neither the end of the world nor the start of marital issues. We all know so little about the next person – I wish people could acknowledge that they don’t have the full picture of the lives of others. The only persons entitled to feel anger or resentment here are the persons directly involved. You – the writer – deserve only praise from us – the quite voluntary readers – for your courage to share openly, and we – the readers – should appreciate the opportunity to learn and gain understanding, and we owe it to you to either show support, provide hopefully valuable input – or stay gently silent. Wishing you all the best.
Up to a point kindness is a good thing. But at what point does it become condoning? A sop to wrongdoing? When must one honestly but civilly say “no, actually, this is wrong”?
And while in many things its true that “but for the grace of god there go I” sometimes it’s not. Sometimes people are just bad people and good people would never be there no matter whether there’s grace or not.
Some of us don’t kill. Some of us don’t rape. Some of us don’t cheat. Some of us don’t go after married men. We just don’t. Grace or not.
you are right of course. and perhaps my broad stroke of those sayings isn’t exactly right as they were playing about my mind earlier this evening. i was thinking back to twelve years ago when i discovered my dh’s affair. when i found that as livid and outraged and as judgmental as i was, i couldn’t kick him to the nor could i ignore my own culpability in his choices at the time. i raged and cried and everything in between as his affair went on for another 9-months before he decided to stay. flash forward to my own duplicity, the space in which i would have never guessed i’d be and as we were talking about twelve years ago and his absolute cruelty and inability to show remorse or kindness-which lasted a long while even after he decided to stay, and where we are now. i am open and answering his questions. i have earned his anger and deservedly lost his trust. no matter how much he spews and spins and wants to just go back to when i was ok with what our relationship was i won’t be deliberate in an effort to hurt him. i won’t shield him with a lie but i also won’t be so truthful as to be cruel. have i cheated? yes, for the first time in my 45+ years (and 24.5 years of marriage) i have indeed cheated. i have also been cheated on. i’ve been raped when i was a young girl by a person of authority in the local church. and i have watched in horror when a colleague’s husband came storming into our upstanding professional office in a vibrant downtown city and fatally shot her because she caught him cheating on her. you are right of course, some people are bad people and some people are good people. and sometimes good people make bad choices. do i think a bad choice defines an entire life? i do not. i don’t kill. i don’t rape. and i try very hard, sometimes not as successfully as i’d like, i don’t judge. and believe it or not, i appreciate that you took the time to read the post and to comment.
Thank you. I think when both of you have cheated its a bit different. If you like, you surrendered your moral high ground but you did once have it.
There are of course people who do bad things and are truly sorry and become good people through remorse and hard work (again, maybe, or maybe it wakes them up and makes them work for the first time).
I like to say good people can do bad things but the price is they aren’t good anymore and getting back there is climbing Everest. It can be done. But few do it.
As for “judging”, I think it gets a bad rap. We all judge and so we should. How else do we decide to date this person or that? Have an affair or not with that married man you fancy? We judge. It’s not a bad thing unless we are unjust. We all want our kids to have good judgement but not to judge? Where’s the sense in that?
Are people defined by a bad act? Excellent question. My view is that depends on how bad the act and how sorry they are ( actions not words). Cheating and then saying “oh whoops” or ” it was your fault” is pretty hard to not define a character by that. A cheater who spends their life trying to make up for it has a shot at not being defined by it but its retrospective. You can’t just wait 2 years and poof! You’re not defined by it anymore.
Would be interested in your views on my post on judgement. Though I realise now it didn’t scratch the surface. More to come on that I think.
And seriously, your rapist is for sure defined by that forever. Evidence that sometimes, yes you are. The only question is which side of the line is it? For me cheating is over that line.
I think of all things, kindness is definitely a quality I associate with you. (Hugs)