I have somewhere around 35 kids... give or take. I have given birth to 3. The rest have either adopted me or I have adopted them or somehow we just got flung together. Some of these kids are barely 10 years younger than me, and they come from all races, it seems. But one thing is for certain - I love them all dearly and worry, fret, pray for, and counsel them as if I had birthed them. I am privileged that most of them are my friends as well as my children. I love them as if they came from my bloodline.
Recently I have noticed that there is more and more going on with my kids... breakups, friendships on the rocks, family problems, work, etc. I sometimes feel caught between them, trying to advise both parties, being a sounding board, and praying that the situations will be resolved. I don't mind terribly much, because I love them. But I do have some choice nuggets of wisdom for them, if they will just read and take them to heart...
1. Sometimes, our differences are right out there for everyone to see. God made us all different. We look different, feel different, have different opinions about things. And that's OK. Actually it's better than OK. It's what makes life interesting and an adventure. We have to learn to accept the differences in ourselves and others. But that doesn't mean we have to be friends with everyone that comes along. Some people are just not going to fit in our lives, and we won't fit into others' lives.
2. Sometimes, people hurt our feelings. And sometimes they mean to. But more often, they don't. They say things not realizing how deeply the words will hurt. They say things thinking that we will forgive them. They say things that hurt us and they go about their lives. Sometimes they say things to others, and often it is because they don't know how to talk to us. Why? Often times because we are inaccessible, or they were hurt and are afraid they will be hurt more if they talk to us.
3. There are going to be things that hurt us that we will never hear "I'm sorry" for. Some people don't know how to say those words. And sometimes they don't realized we are hurt by those things or words.
4. Forgiveness is for the sake of the person who was hurt, not the sake of the person who did the offending. Who is hurt by your refusal to forgive? It's not the person who upset you, said things behind your back, took something you thought was yours.
Thus ends my words of wisdom for now.