My girlfriend had a wake-up call in her life to the fact that she was harboring hurt and “drinking the poison expecting the other person to die”. Truth is, many of us have been bitter. I raise my hand – I know what bitter tastes like. It’s been a while but I am not immune. Many of us are still in the White Witch’s bitterly frozen Narnia with no idea how to get out. But Bitterness is not a closed-border state! There is a way out!
THE BITTERNESS BURNING
Write every emotion down. Write like a victim. Write like an accuser. Write like an executioner. Write every hurt and harm, every angry thought. Let there be nothing left in you to wring out. This took me several days and several sheets of paper to vomit out all my anger, hurt and bitterness into black ink on white paper.
Let the amount you have written in itself be a wake-up call for you. I remember thinking Oh My Goodness, where did all these words come from? I could just visualize the space that they left behind inside me waiting to be filled with something different. What a huge amount of space these words must have filled inside!
Then burn it.
Now my girlfriend and I are quite creative people. We see the world in colour and, although I hate to use the word, drama. Her bitterness took on the largeness of her personality and it took some ceremony to get the deed done. She invited a few of us girlfriends over to dinner, and after the lovely meal we prayed for her future of bitter-free living in a circle of friends outside on the grass on her lawn. Then we made that baby burn. As the paper curled and blackened we lit hand sparklers and twirled like fairies, using them in turn to light roman candles and even bigger fireworks. The loud booms and bright colours lit up the sky! A real celebration! It was beautiful. No one got hurt (and yes, we are all amazed – these women and gunpowder and no accidents). I’m sure the neighbours thought we’d lost our minds in the middle of a normal week in February with dew on the grass and us out there with fireworks! But one thing was missing.
He didn’t even show up. She had a bitter-free night.
Of course this is just the beginning. If you wake up the next day and do exactly what you’d done the day before nothing will change. Bitterness, like every other bad habit, takes practice to remove. It will slide right back in if you let it. Habits are easy to form and hard to let go BUT we didn’t burn bitterness for nothing. Oh no!
It was a celebration of a new commitment, a new future and making space inside her soul for something different to happen. My friend stepped out of her comfort zone and began to take responsibility for her future. She enlisted the help of women she trusted to hold her accountable and help her create that future. Today I am sure my friend, as I did, woke up with a natural tendency to slip into bad habits. But she has a lovely memory to help her in her commitment to fill the hole left behind by those words now released with something new – something beautiful. The love of her God, the love of her family, and the support of her friends will envelop her in her new journey. She will busy her hands with new projects – baking is one of her many talents and she enjoys it so much. With her God, her little family and her friends surrounding her with love, she is committing herself to a journey that will lead to a destination that bares absolutely no resemblance to Bitterness.