Drat. My alarm is set for 5:30 AM, an early morning get the day started right bicycle ride planned. It is 2:24 AM as I start writing this blog, alone downstairs on the living room couch, the realization that I will be a zombie when that alarm goes off three hours from now all too clear to me. No way am I getting that ride in. Riding sleep deprived is not a good idea.
The couch becomes my refuge on nights like this, nights where sleep just runs away from me, my thoughts stronger than a triple shot espresso. Thankfully these kinds of nights are few and far between. My normal nocturnal state is a blissfully deep sleep, rest that allows me to be ready for most every day. I am the guy who tucks himself in at 10 PM, greets the day before morning’s light appears. That is not me tonight.
Resentment keeps me awake, deep soul wrenching resentment that has dug its claws into me so tightly that I can not send it away no matter how hard I try. I pray. I lean at my bedroom window to listen to the wind rustle through the leaves of the maple tree outside, usually soothing in a way that carries my cares away with the wind. All attempts to loosen resentment’s grip are useless tonight.
Although writing does help.
Four months I have been asking for the capacity to forgive. There is too much to remind me of that day, the day 24 years of my life seemed to be torn out of my book, a misplaced commitment that only I valued. In this moment, it seems like that battle has been lost, but in reality I feel like I have done very well. Four months is not a lot of time, the wound still fresh. There are so many reminders each day, some days more than others, that the wound continues to be opened.
A boss who was fired by the same person who fired me. He still is very bitter and reminds me of it now and then. Telling it to me cleanses his soul, I think. I usually don’t join in, aware that we both need to forget. Fueling the resentment will only make the fire grow.
Business dealings. Early last week I attended a trade show, my former employer represented at a booth there.
Facebook, where so many friends who were coworkers are at. A good friend was pregnant when I was fired. She had the baby a week ago and is posting pictures.
Today, a Sunday of all things, was a day where one thing after another reminded me of my former employer. At church, I saw a common cycling friend of the owner, someone who started going to my church a few months ago but I had not seen until today. We talked about the owner. I talked as if nothing had happened, as if the man had done nothing to me. This evening, as I reviewed my calendar for the next few months, I added a party that Mir and I are invited to next month — and I was reminded that I will have to face that owner there for the first time since I was fired. And for the first time I felt like I would spit in his face if I saw him. What am I going to do if and when I do see him? That party is in a few weeks. The bitterness has grown in the past few months as the truth of what happened not only the day of my firing and what he told me the day after — “I have had your back for years, Steve” — in the days, weeks, and years prior to that, has become clear to me. He knew because the firing was premeditated, planned, provoked.
Tonight, when reading my bible, three printed pages stuck in my bible came to my attention. Those three pages are the email conversation I had with the owner, someone who had called me a friend, less than two weeks before I was fired. I should not have read those emails tonight because the betrayal was not subtle, clear as a kiss, but performed for far more than thirty pieces of silver. I had poured my heart to the guy honestly, the only way I know how to be.
“What do you expect me to do, Steve?”
He did nothing because he knew what was going to happen. I shared that I was not being recognized for my work that by any standard was exceptional, not just for a few days but for years. I realize now that I was not being recognized for my hard work because two people, a director and a supervisor, were trying to build a case against me. They had to invent that case or provoke me. Recognizing me for hard work, for my contribution, would harm their case. In the end, they provoked me and it worked. It did not need to work, did not even need to happen if that owner and former friend had chosen the honorable way.
And so the resentment does not let me sleep. I wish I could control it. I can’t. Not tonight at least. By the morning’s light, it will have shrunk to nothing. I will sleep. It will sleep until awakened again.
What is the saying — “You can forgive but you can never forget”?