Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Finding Peace after Years of Worry

Years ago, I hit my sister over the head with my lunch box.  Yep!  I did.  I was a mean sister and totally banged her on the head with a metal lunch box.  So the story goes....I was probably seven years old and my sister was eight.  So I was in second grade and she was in fourth.  My sister was a genius (or so I thought) as she skipped a grade.  She's only fifteen months older than me, but two grades older than me due to the grade skipping.  

So one day after school, I got on the school bus.  She was already on the bus.  As I was walking by her, I thought she should carry my lunch box, not me.  I asked (or told her) to carry my  lunch box and she wouldn't do it.  So I hauled off and hit her on the head with it as I walked past her.  Honestly, I don't recall getting in trouble by the bus driver or my Mom.  BUT the story lives on even today.

My sister brings up the lunch box incident all the time.  Even when I visited her around Christmas, she brought it up and laughed.  I couldn't tell if it was the good laugh or a "I have been mad at you for 35 years laugh".  In the moment, I laughed it off and moved on, but inside it ate me up.  So this last week, I had an email conversation with my sister and I decided to apologize to her about the lunch box incident.  I said I was sorry and that I wasn't always the nicest sister.

I was shocked at the response I received.  She responded with, "OMG!!!!  Tough love isn’t a bad thing!  I still take things too seriously and overreact.  I needed the lunch box incident!  We wouldn’t still be talking about it if it hadn’t had such a constructive impact on my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still use the story to my advantage when I need to…but…it brings me smiles knowing that in your youthful ignorance, you were quite the sage psychologist!!"

WHAT?  I sat staring at the email in shock.  Were were talking about the same lunch box incident?  You know, the one where you wouldn't carry my lunch box and I hit you on the head with it?  I was completely dumbfounded.  So I needed her side of the story because obviously our stories weren't the same.

So my sister's memory of that infamous story from my childhood was that we had just moved overseas.  She does not adjust to change well and cried a lot.  So at that moment, my sister was crying too much about moving to a new place where she didn’t know anyone and not adapting well to change!.  I then got frustrated with my crying and hit me.  My sister was clearly so wrapped up in her selfish worries that she didn’t even notice my request!! 

So all these years, I worried how this incident negatively impacted our relationship.  While my sister (although she may have had a headache at first) used the incident in a positive way showing her to not take life as seriously.  Life change is difficult, but is it worth crying and feeling sorry for yourself every day?  

Wow!  What a difference perspective is on the same story!  I had no idea.  For me today, it taught me not to dwell on the past.  If you have something that truly bothers you or you feel sorry for, talk to that person.  Their perspective of the situation may be completely different than yours.  You may be blowing it up in your mind to something it wasn't.  You may be hanging on to worries that shouldn't be worries.  Let them go.  

I still feel terrible that I hit my sister with my lunch box.  It's not acceptable behavior.  However, I am so happy I finally said I was sorry and know that she didn't hold any resentment against me for all these years.  You never know... you might be surprised too and in the end, you will find peace.


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