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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

Mending Fences

Sarah Muir
MSM Class of 2018

(1/2016) It begins. The seasons have changed, the Christmas decorations have been hauled either up to the dusty, further most corners of the attic, or beginning to collect cobwebs in the basement. We have swept up the confetti and the party favors and are ready to start again. The New Year signifies the time to make your resolutions for the coming year and many people out there pledge to lose that weight or eat better or smile more. However, I am going to ask you to try to do something different. Do not worry, you do not have to physically exert yourself in any way or restrain yourself from that treat you have been thinking about all day. Instead, I would like for whoever is reading this to mend some fences in their personal lives.

Mending fences is a term, which here means, improving poor relations or reuniting with someone who had wronged you in the past. Forgiveness is difficult, but what weighs more on the soul is holding a grudge. I am not asking you to forget the insult (real or imagined), all I am asking you to let it go! Let go of the hate or the anger you hold for that person, stop blaming them for where you are in your life or what you have done since then. The past is the past and no matter what they did to you, you have the power over how you react and how you recover.

Forgiveness seems to be talked about, but seldom put into practice. This is most likely due to the fact that one has to swallow their pride and get up the nerve to say, "Iím sorry." There are even physical pitfalls to holding grudges. They can cause stress levels to rise and place you in a negative frame of mind. This means you are becoming agitated and wasting energy on someone with whom you cannot even be bothered to hold a civil conversation.

I personally find grudges tiresome and can seldom keep up the faÁade of distain and loathing. I find it easier to forgive and move on; I may not like the person anymore, but I free myself of the responsibility of going out of my way to hate them. I also know that there is enough hate in the world already without petty resentments adding to them.

As we ring in the New Year with confetti and lights and laughter, let us try to push the reset button and remember all the old acquaintances we have purposefully forgotten. New Yearís Day has always been my favorite, I feel lighter as the old year sheds its coat and it seems as if the world is shiny and new. It is time to forget about the past mistakes, pains, and heartaches and change; evolve into a better version of ourselves. We need to forgive others of their mistakes and ask for forgiveness in return.

We think about the people who are estranged from us, especially around the holidays; those friends or family that we no longer talk to because of some argument which nobody remembers. It is a shame that long-ago grievances cause families to divide and set an example for younger generations. This is most likely confusing to them because they are taught their whole life to say "sorry," but never hear it from adults.

You cannot live your life angry and sometimes you have to forgive yourself before you can begin to forgive others. Chances are, the person that you want to make amends to wants to do the same, but is unsure how to make the first step. So, the ball is in your court; it is up to you to be the bigger person and initiate the healing process. If they do not accept, then you can tell yourself you tried, and when they grow enough to forgive or accept forgiveness, then you will be waiting.

We tear up at movies or television shows when the protagonist has a moment of clarity and forgives the person you wrong them or who they have wronged. We preach to others about letting go and forgiving and we teach it to our kids. However, we fail to follow our own advice.

I am not asking for you to do this for everyone else. I am asking you to do this for you. You deserve to be free from the burden of grudges and hate. You deserve for this year to be one of hope and happiness and not bogged down by resentment and anger. This is for you; the fact that it has the potential to help another person, is a happy coincidence.

This is all wonderful, and it is easier said than done; but it is a noble task to undertake for this coming New Year. Every day we are given the chance to be a better person than who we were and have the chance to help others do the same. However impossible it seems, we take this challenge as to simply do something small every day, it is completely possible. Try that person that cut you off on your way to work, or the barista who did not get your order right. I think if you start letting go of the small things, you can begin to let go of the big ones too.

I hope this New Yearís resolution seems attainable because no one deserves to carry the weight of a grudge. My hope is that you reach out to friends and family with whom you are on bad terms and try to bury the proverbial hatchet. The world is so divided today that we cannot afford to let disagreements come between our relationships.

Finally, I wish you the happiest of New Years. I pray that it will be filled with love and happiness. Whatever misfortunes come your way, may the people in your life be there for you and help you through both good times and bad. Happy New Year!

Read other articles by Sarah Muir