"Don't get caught up in caution when love exists." Dermot Kennedy

Forgiveness. We usually begin at the periphery. We start with the obvious: people who hurt us, or people who we hurt. We start with old resentments, or bitterness that is eating us up inside.

Holidays have a way of bringing these stuck emotions up, unable to avoid the stinging contrast of the bright sparkling lights outside, and the dim hardened walls inside our hearts. The contrast of how we "should be feeling" and how we really feel.

We are confronted with where we haven't been leaning in to the people to whom we are writing the cards and sending the gifts. It's often a sibling or parent or maybe a partner who we may feel distant from or closed off to.

Maybe they did or said something that felt hurtful, or maybe it's the fear of abandonment over disparate views, or maybe it's that they didn't say anything at all. Somehow, the lines got crossed, clogged up, or cut off completely. The light of connection grew dim, the calls slowed to a stop, and the stories in your head about what's really going on replaced the knowing of the real connection that you share.

You come up with all the scenarios of what you didn't see, how they really feel about you, where they are not showing up, or insecurity about your role in the perceived demise. After too much mulling it over and over in your mind, you get tired, throw your hands up, and tell yourself that "it's out of my control. I can't change who they are."

So the silence builds. Not the sweet silence of snowflakes falling on your eyelashes, or the silence that you drink in your morning meditation. But the kind of silence created by headphones over your ears while someone is trying to talk to you - muffled and strained.

It's a silence that weighs heavy on your chest, that slowly envelopes the heart with a numbing serum called resignation. Also known as apathy. You pretend that you're fine with the new distance because, after all, it's easier than conflict.

And then one day, in an unplanned way, you pick up the phone, and call. The words come fumbling out, like a bird let out of a cage. "What happened to us? I miss you."

Tears start to flow, rising up from below the icy surface, and you realize that you haven't really taken a deep breath in a long time.

Love comes bursting through the phone line again. They reply "I'm so sorry, I had no idea."

In that moment, you realize that you were playing it safe, once again. You were hiding from the truth, behind the fear of rejection and abandonment. And in the hiding, you abandoned yourself and your loved one. You let this life-giving relationship slip away out of fear of being dropped.

How often do we do this? In our avoiding of feeling pain, we create suffering for ourselves and others. Out of fear of losing connection, we cut it off.

Love reminds us that it's too big and too important for caution. It requires great courage. It requires ALL of us to come out of hiding, and enter into the arena of vulnerability and truth.

It's scary as hell, but every time I dive heart-first into it, it catches me once again.

This holiday, I invite you to take that leap. Risk your pride. Risk your security. Risk it all.

There's no greater gift.

#relationships #holidays #tellthetruth #family #connection

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