What I've Learned This Week

As soon as the words “You have every right to be angry, I messed up,” were out of my mouth, peace settled in the room, and I could feel his anger dissipate.

So easy. Before that moment, before those words, my mind had swirled with defensive outcries like, “But you did…” and “How could I have known…”

Luckily, I held my tongue. It was in the middle of the night, I was half asleep, and perhaps what Yeshua calls “Spirit” had spoken through me. When you sleep, your soul opens and connects to the Universe, the All, or God. You become all-knowing. I had messed up, that was true. I had left the bar early, had gone to sleep, and put my ear plugs in. It never entered my mind that my husband might not have a key. It didn’t occur to me that I should have my cell phone next to bed in case of an emergency. I only thought of getting enough sleep. And thus, my husband spent fifteen minutes calling me, banging on the door, and ringing the doorbell before I woke up. He did have every right to be angry.

The next morning, I thought of a conversation I had with a friend fifteen years earlier. We were traveling in Nicaragua and were having drinks at the hotel bar. The more we drank, the more she described everything that was wrong with me. How I criticized people. I was sarcastic and hurt peoples’ feelings. And on and on. I listened, somewhat uncomfortably, but I heard what she said and saw the truth in some of the complaints. After a long time hearing her out, I said: “I know I’m not perfect, and I’m really working on becoming a better person. But I’m sure you also have things you want to improve with yourself.” Her answer shocked me: “No, I don’t think I have any reason to improve.” I felt lucky, then, that at least I knew, at least I tried to become better.

What I did learn from that night a few days ago, was not only to leave a key for my husband when he gets home late, but to accept my mistakes and allow someone else to be angry. Or hurt. I’m going to keep making mistakes. I’m still sarcastic and sometimes I hurt others with my jokes, even though I don’t mean any harm. But I’ve learned to hold my tongue sometimes. Every angry thought, every funny joke, doesn’t have to pass my lips. It’s OK to stay quiet and let the thoughts storm in my head.

To my friend, I want to say that I’m sorry. That night in Managua, I thought I was better than her, more awakened. Quite arrogantly, I thought she just didn’t know herself enough, so it was easier to criticize me than to accept her own faults. I didn’t realize she was mirroring me. In the end, it’s not a competition of being better than anyone else. It’s not a race. It’s a long long journey. And the only one we have to face in the battle is our self.