Whats Left Undone

Dear Family and Friends,


As many of you know, I have a theme ‘to make love is to make life’ that I try to take a moment and ponder once a month. I’ve been struggling to figure out what it really means. I still don’t know. I haven’t had time to think about it because there has been so much on my mind lately. One of the main causes of distraction is kids. Specifically, the clumsy, little kids that don’t tie their shoes. They don’t have the foresight to see that if they just tie their shoes they can prevent themselves from tripping over their own feet in the future.


It looks sloppy. Why must they leave their shoes untied? They can take 30 seconds to tie their shoes and go on about their life. You never see adults walking around with their shoes untied.


Well, actually…


Sometimes adults do leave some things left untied, undone and unresolved. It may not be shoe laces, but what adults leave undone often looks like unresolved apologies, situations, relationships and goals.


The Apology. Sometimes we are waiting for an apology for some wrong done to us. Life would be made whole again if only the offender admitted to their hurtful behavior and acknowledged the damage and distress left in its absence. And so we wait. And we wait. And we wait. And we are still waiting. One of my favorite quotes (yes, I have about 100 favorite quotes) for healing and restoration is, “Sometimes you have to accept the apology you will never receive.”


This goes two ways. Sometimes you are responsible for asking for forgiveness. There is someone in the world that is waiting and waiting and waiting for you to confess to what you have done. You begin to lie to yourself and believe that everything surrounding the situation will eventually pass. You are hoping the other person will get over it and all parties involved will just move on. But they don’t. They are waiting on you. You can’t move on because you know they are waiting on you. Both of you are awkwardly moving like awkward turtles at an awkward 6th-grade dance.


The Relationship. Before Iyanla Vanzant let the celebrity life get to her head, she used to give salient advice full of wisdom. (Now she just profits off of people’s pain. Anyways…) She wrote a book called ‘Acts of Faith’ that has daily personal reflections. Three of her reflections describe three types of relationships that we encounter with every person in our life. The people in our life for a reason will journey with us for a short time, and the relationship will end in such a way that it causes a deep visceral reaction engendering a need to reflect deeply on that experience. There are people who come for a season. They slowly drift away when that season is over. Lastly, there are lifetime people. Iyanla goes on explain that problems arise when we place lifetime expectations on people who were only meant to be in our lives for a reason or a season.


Relationships that end with the people who were only in our lives for a reason often cause disruption that leads to unresolved feelings. The relationship may start off fulfilling and usually ends up like a mini WWIII. We hold onto the reasons they wronged us. Conversely, we are ashamed of how we treated them, and we have this longing to go back and make amends. But we can’t. So it feels unresolved.


Either way, vestiges of that past relationship appear in other aspects of our lives. It shows up in the way we treat and talk to people that remind us of the relationship. We go places or avoid places because of that relationship. It becomes impossible to get pass invisible barriers that were erected during that relationship and are difficult to destruct without resolving the situation with the other person.


The goal. The other day my friend was telling me about the 30-year sprint. By 30 years old you feel the need to: buy a nice home, buy a nicer car, get married, have 2 kids, have a great job, get promoted every year, have a side business, go on vacation out of the country every year, have a 401K and conversations about planning for retirement, and find a unicorn after you spot a yeti during one of your exotic vacations. If you are not approaching 30, this is where you insert the next 10-year mark from your current age and all of the things that would be a nice addition to your life.


We all have heard the “that’s not everyone’s story,” or “not everyone takes that path in life,” or “it will come in due time,” blah blah blah blah blah. BLLLLAAAAAHHHHHHH.


Don’t be quick to dismiss people’s feelings over an unsatisfied life. They are reaching for a tangible goal that is often the physical manifestation of an emotion need. Home ownership represents security to many people. A good job is an affirmation of hard work and dedication.


The trials and hardships. Some of the things that have been left unresolved in our lives are the things that we are actively running away from. It’s the situation that we know is going to cause grief. Instead of facing it head on, we avoid it. It festers in our soul. It runs round and round and round in our mind. It hinders us from being present in the moment because we are physically in place but emotionally running from something.


You can’t resolve something you are afraid to face.


As always, I don’t know what to tell you what to do about the things left unresolved. The past few weeks I felt like things were off kilter. In the back of my mind, I felt like I had to resolve some things. I was losing sleep. Other things not related to the unresolved issues were not working out for me. Other people’s behavior felt personal (which may or may not have been the case).


I guess you just have to figure out what you have left undone. My good advice for this month is to remember tying your shoes means leaving every space, relationship, and encounter better than how you found it. In doing so, you must tie up loose ends and restore what was broken.  Lastly, don’t expect that tying up loose ends is quick, easy and just like they do it in the movies. It’s hard, messy and sometimes you just might not recognize it until you look back and have grown through the situation.

In the words of the late and great Langston Hughes:


What happens to a dream deferred?


Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over—

like a syrupy sweet?


Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.


Or does it explode?


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