Life's Too Short - Let it Go
"Don't be angry. Just let it go. Life's too short," said my 11-year-old son.
I had just walked through the door and was griping about having spent an hour arguing with a rep with my internet carrier over an increased bill. The day before a rep had told me I was eligible for an increase in internet speed for no charge. I gladly accepted the free upgrade and confirmed the scheduling of the technician to come out the next day. However, the next day I received a bill with an increase of over $25 a month.
Rrrrrr....why can't anybody just do what they say they're going to do? I thought.
After an hour of going back and forth with a woman who sounded like a robot reading a script and my problem not being solved I was aggravated. This wasn't the first time I had to spend my time fixing a problem I didn't create. Nor was it the first time someone had told me something that wasn't correct and then I had to once again spend my time getting bounced around from rep to rep explaining the story over and over again to people who seemed they could care less.
Why can't people just do the right thing? I fumed.
If this type of incident had been a rare occasion maybe I wouldn’t have been as aggravated, but only months before a representative with my cellphone carrier had told me I could get an upgrade on a phone with no additional charge only to get the next month’s bill and have a monthly increase of over $75. As many of you know, this type of stuff always involves hours of time winding through the customer service labyrinth’s maze.
Just the other day a friend was telling me how frustrated he and his wife got with a customer service rep while trying to handle the affairs of a friend who had passed. The rep kept telling them they owed for the next month’s cable bill. Showing the rep their friend’s death certificate they kept trying to explain that their friend was no longer living.
However, the rep kept saying they still owed for the next month since she didn’t cancel her service. Finally, one of the other reps overhearing the conversation chimed in and said, “Did you not hear them say she’s dead? That’s why she didn’t cancel her service!”
These kinds of aggravating scenarios play out daily in our lives. Then add in some family and relational feuds, stress at work, an encounter with a Mad Maxx on the road and you can find yourself feeling angry. All you need to do is watch the news or scroll through social media long enough and you will see that people are increasingly becoming angry.
But is the anger justifiable, and if so how do we respond to our anger?
"Don't be angry mom," my son said as I hurried past him to grab my things to head back out the door for my meeting. (As you know we're all always in a hurry to go somewhere.) "Well, sometimes people do things to make you angry son," I said not paying him much attention. After all, I was justified in being angry.
I walked past him again, hardly noticing him and headed back out the door. He chased after me and stopped me, grabbing my arm and pulling my face in with his hands. "Mom, life's too short to be angry," he said kissing me on the cheek. As his little sparkly eyes stared at me I was reminded of something else he had said only a few days prior.
For years every day he and I do what we call our "monkey hug". He runs and jumps up as I grab him, we spin around and do a great, big hug. The other day after I had set him down after our hug I said, "Ahhh, what am I going to do when you get too big for us to do our monkey hug?"
"Stop doing that mom. Don't worry about the future," he said. "Just enjoy today. And don't worry about the past. We have this moment. So just enjoy it."
As he held my face in his hands I thought about all that he had told me that week. He was so right. Dang, how did my 11-year-old son get so smart? Maybe I didn't do such a bad job after all.
I hugged him and kissed him. "You're right. It is too short to be angry. Thanks for reminding me."
People say time flies. I remember hearing this from my grandmother as a kid and just blankly staring at her because I had no idea what she was talking about. Whenever I waited for Santa Clause to show up at Christmas, time seemed to do anything but fly. But now that I am older time seems to be disappearing. Where did the last 10 years go?
We recently lost someone close to us unexpectedly and our neighbor who has four children was just told she only has six months to live. When stuff like that happens it makes you realize the importance of each day. None of us know when our last day will be. What do we want to be remembered for? What will our memories be filled with?
When we leave here we don't take anything with us - only our memories. That's all that goes with us.
So, will your memories be filled with hours and days spent with frustration and anger over things that you have no control over? Will your memories be filled with regret over missed opportunities to spend time with family or friends due to unresolved strife?
Or will it be filled with memories of laughter with your friends? Hugs from your kids? Late night cuddles under the moonlight?
Every day is a day we can't get back. Time is the most valuable commodity we have. Why would we want to waste it being angry? Is anger going to come? Of course. Will offenses come? Of course. Will disappointments come? Of course. But we have to learn to let it go quickly.
The longer we hold on to these disappointments, anger and offenses the more they become a part of who we are. That's why God tells us not to let the sun go down on our anger. (Ephesians 4:26-27) It's time wasted that we never get back.
When people do something to offend us we need to get in the habit of immediately saying, "I choose not to be offended." Something else that has helped me when my mind wants to get stuck on rehearsing the offense is to begin to pray blessings over the person.
Most of the time when people do things to us that are hurtful it's done unintentionally. And even when people intentionally try to hurt us they are usually dealing with their own unresolved issues.
So, the best antidote we can take to keep ourselves from becoming embittered in life from all of these plagues is to learn to let it go. There's too much of life to be enjoyed out there to waste it holding on to things that when it's all over won't matter.
So, laugh at a joke. Smell a flower. Watch the sunset with your loved one. Hold hands while walking in the park. Do a handstand. Tickle you son. Paint nails with your daughter.
Whatever you do, let go of it and enjoy life. It's too short for anything else.