Wednesday 22 January 2020

The Art of Wronging and Righting

Over the past few weeks I have given a lot of thought to wronging  - both from the perspective of the wronger and the wrongee. To wrong someone is to act unjustly or dishonestly towards them. My feeling is that wrongs are seldom done with intention or malice and that it is our perspective that makes a wrong just that.

image from the internet
A couple of weeks ago I was wronged. Strictly speaking, there was no misdeed that took place, there was no malice or intent on the part of the wronger and I could logically reason the whole situation. But emotionally - that is where it hit me. I was hurt. Very hurt.

Of course, time and perspective sorts everything out, but I also had to work through how to move forward and to arrive at some kind of peace in order to interact regularly with the wronger.

As it would happen, a couple of weeks ago I unintentionally wronged a friend. And I didn't even know it until a via-the-grapevine message got back to me. In short, I was standing up for him to get R2200 from our club instead of the R720 that he expected. He took offence because I'd declined payment of the R720 because it was his personal expense but I wanted to give him the R2200 because it was money that he had spent that should have been refunded to him.

As you can see from this, the way in which I wronged him was completely unintentional, unbeknown and totally without malice. But he said nothing and so I didn't even know that I had wronged him. And he remained mad at me for weeks. Even though I have explained my reasoning and apologised to offending him, he is probably still a bit mad at me.

I have fortunately had very few instances where I have been wronged to the extent that I have limited or cut off contact completely with the person. In the two cases that I can recall, I was straight in telling them that I was mad with them and why. It changed our relationship.

These recent wrongs got me thinking about righting - when you are the wronger, how do you make things right and what level of 'forgiveness' can you expect from the wrongee?

I have come to the conclusion that I should treat the wronger the same way that I would expect to be treated if I was in their position. Because, that is what I would want.

That said, it is only possible to move forward and carry on with a healthy interaction if the wronger has acknowledged their wrong (even if the wrong was unintentional), understands the impact that the wrong had, and has apologised for the wrong.

In this light, forgiveness is possible.

On Wiki the definition of forgiveness is "the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offence, and overcomes negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance".

 I also found this as a comment on forgiveness and it rings true for me: "Forgiveness means letting go of the pain the incident is causing us. We forgive to give ourselves peace of mind, and in hopes that one day someone will return the favour if we ever offend them".

While I wish you no wrong, either on the giving or receiving end, if you find yourself offended or offending, I hope that you'll be able to make right after some thought and a lot of understanding and compassion.

Saturday 18 January 2020

Bert's Bricks 21km 2020

Last year was, I'm fairly certain, the first in about 18 years, that I did not participate in a single road race! So when I was reminded of Bert's Bricks 21km, which I missed last year as I was out of town, I couldn't resist the challenge.

The curse - and blessing - of road races is that they start early. 6am starts best the heat but they do nail me. I was surprised to see this morning that it is now more dark than light at 5am, as I made my way to Potch - one of our closest large towns that is only 50km away.

At the race, I was warmly greeted by many Parys runners. We see each other regularly at parkrun, myrun or Wednesday evening time trials. 

Despite the cool morning and overcast sky, it was pretty humid. Hendrick - a local Parys biokineticist who has a spaniel dog that usually runs with him - and I settled into the same pace from the start and we ended up running together. 

The element that makes this run so much 'fun' is that you have the option to pick up a brick at the halfway turnaround at the Bert's Bricks factory. If you run all the way to the finish with it, you can claim a 6-pack of beer. 

Running with a brick is not easy! It feels like it gets heavier and heavier with every step! It is also awkward to carry and no position is comfortable. It is also not something that you can put into a backpack - as some tried - because it whacks against your back. 

I take along a pillowcase. With the brick inside, I have more options for how to hold it. 

We went through 10km in 56 minutes - nice and easy. We finished in 2:04, mainly losing time when we took the water points on the return route as opportunities to walk a bit and to shake out our arms. I'm sure we arrived at the finish with arms significantly longer after carrying our bricks back! 

A great morning and I felt better on the road than I expected. I'm sure I'll have stiff shoulders and triceps tomorrow, but legs and knees and lungs were all good. 

I've already put my keyring memento onto a set of keys that I use daily. A nice alternative to a medal. 

I haven't got any plans for much road racing this year, but I did thoroughly enjoy this morning's run - a reminder of my running roots. 

Thursday 9 January 2020

Hello 2020

I like this 'New Year' thing because it gives us a chance to turn our back on all the challenges and bad of the previous year and to look ahead with optimism that things will be different and better.

2019 came with too many challenges, difficulties and stresses for my liking and I'm glad to see the back of it. Of course, there are always highlights and good aspects to every year. Still, I see 2020 as the year that makes the struggles of the past three years worth it. 

2019 hit me with a big knock in December but came right with a river trip on the Orange River over New Year (I'll post about this separately). I didn't make it even close to midnight to see in 2020 (I'm not at all sentimental about this) although I did stare at the starlit Northern Cape sky for a time to see a satellite fly by before climbing into my tent not much after 9pm. And early night and a solid sleep was my way of seeing in the new year. 

For 2020, I am hoping for a year that is not just busy, but productive; one that has a more measured balance of work and play. I look forward to spending time with friends and family who I haven't seen for too long. 

Most of all, I wish for a year that is more kind. Kindness goes a long way to making everything OK. 

I wish you a year ahead in which you achieve your goals, set milestones and that you are bathed in kindness and good health.