Here's something I'd written a couple of years ago for our company newsletter. I was giving some thought to my 25th class reunion (coming up next year) and this article popped into my mind. Fact is, I have never been to a class reunion. Not entirely sure why. I guess I have chalked it up to being because most of my friends either weren't in my class, have passed away, or have moved far away. But, ya' know ... why should that make any difference? There probably are some other deeply-rooted reasons as well. Maybe, just maybe (okay, probably not) I will go to my class reunion next year.
Chances are that we all remember grandmothers or mothers or others who spent countless hours in the kitchen every late summer and fall “putting up” vegetables and other things from the garden. Do you remember all of the carefully labeled jars which said what was in the jar as well as the month and year it was canned? Someplace in the house, usually in the cool basement, there were shelves, often up high for protection from children I suspect, where there were rows and columns of these carefully prepared jars, all ready to be taken down and eaten in the winter. I remember pickles, tomatoes, tomato sauce, catsup, green beans, plums, relishes, peaches – all sorts of wonderful things which tasted delicious once they were opened! Perhaps you still have someone in your family who does canning of this sort each year.
However, fact is, we all do a little canning of our own don’t we? Or a lot? Of course, I’m not talking about canning delicious fruits and vegetables but instead about canning something sort of vile – grudges. Someplace in all of our memory banks is an up-high shelf where we have carefully labeled cans of grudges – grudges against individuals, events, businesses, you name it.
Not quite as palate-pleasing as grandma’s canned goods, though.
Think about it a bit – don’t we all put grudges up in jars, just to haul them down when the occasion merits?
Imagine this scenario, if you will …
“Oh no … here comes Betsy. I haven’t seen her in awhile. I will have to reach way up high for her jar. It’s just within my grasp … ah, yes – there it is! My jar labeled “Grudge Against Betsy.” And, look, wow – it’s from way back in July 1968! Gosh, that was a good year for grudges! Yes, the “Betsy Jar” is an oldy but a goody.”
Can you then imagine how the conversation goes with Betsy? Undoubtedly, not very productive for either person.
I am as guilty of this as anyone but, when I think about it, I see how holding grudges doesn’t do anyone any good. There are times for grudges to just be dropped and forgotten and times for grudges to be aired openly between the parties so that a fresh start toward a productive relationship can be achieved. Look at your personal relationships with family members, neighbors, friends, and, yes, co-workers. Are there any grudges to be gotten rid of? Any situations you will regret if they don't get cleaned up before it's "too late"? Just as was the case with home-canned fruits and vegetables every year when our grandmothers had to use up the previous year’s canned goods before putting up the new year’s canned goods, there’s no reason to keep old jars of grudges around – they only get more vile with each passing day, month, and year.