In my 30 years of life, I’ve learned that patience is more than a virtue – it’s a blessing in itself.
When I was working at the UN, I was unlucky enough to be picked on by a group of individuals who I’ll just christen the ‘office sharks’.
Every office has them. Either they’re a group of gossipy biddies who distract themselves from their own personal problems by bitching about a target, or a group of males feeling threatened by the new cocky recruit. It doesn’t matter what guise they come in, it’s the same story. One person being picked on by a mob. A mob who should know better.
So I ended up the target of one mob and it didn’t help that I was still in treatment for clinical depression. But thankfully, my other colleagues were supportive and helped make the remainder of my time there bearable.
A few months after I left, another colleague who had remained neutral and refrained from taking sides in the matter spoke to me.
"Erna, I just want to tell you I’m sorry. I should have done more."
It seems after I left, the sharks went for her. She got to know first-hand what it was like to have people gang up on you just because they could. And I told her it was all right. That I understood she didn’t want to be involved, that she just wanted to keep out of it, out of trouble. She felt that her failure to stand up for me came back to bite her.
And I said she had nothing to apologise for. In the end, we must all fight our own battles and not blame those who can’t be right there with us for whatever reason.
Today, I received another apology out of the blue. Apologising for not believing me, for having reservations about my capacity for telling the truth.
But there are always two sides to every story. If I was said friend, I’d have misgivings too. It’s easy to exaggerate, to misrepresent, to twist the tale to make yourself the hero and the other party the villain.
Sometimes, both parties can be at fault. Sometimes, the blame must be shared.
I don’t forgive my friends.
Because there is nothing to forgive. For I would rather keep my friendships, and lose all my grudges.
From a letter written by Fra Giovanni:
am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can
give you which you have not got, but there is much, very much, that,
while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!
gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is
joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see – and
to see we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
…And so, at this time, I
greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound
esteem and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day
breaks, and the shadows flee away.