These are the words I heard this week when greeted at the door by someone (let’s call her Blanche) who services my home. I hadn’t seen her in about 8 months and was overdue in scheduling her services. We embraced and she proceeded to tell me what had transpired since that last time we saw each other. Before I get to the change you must know what I knew about her from 8 months ago. If this was television, you would now see a mist appear to represent turning back the clock to that day about 8 months ago when she was in the depth of despair…
While working on my home, Blanche was distraught. I could tell she was in distress and asked what was going on. Blanche shared with me that she has a verbally abusive relationship husband she loved dearly but couldn’t see a way out. She said that he made her to feel worthless all the time and her heart was not up for leaving. She then proceeded to tell me about her kids, and that her son was so fed up with her not standing up for herself that he was begging to live with another family. She felt so hurt that her own son wouldn’t want to be with her. I listened as tears welled in her eyes. I offered to help, but she was going to figure this out on her own. Then I offered a story that changed her life and a piece of advice from this story.
I had just re-listened to a keynote by Iyanla Vanzant from the 2015 Celebrate your Life convention. I can’t tell you how many times I have re-listened to this keynote, it contains many jewels that I used to heal my own heart and soul. Each time I would listen, I would glean something new. Plus, the lecture is entertaining and is always good for a laugh. Anyway, back to Blanche.
I began to describe Iyanla’s 40 years of marriage (she married the same man twice for a total of 40 years). That ultimately led to forgiving him for giving up 40 years of his life to help her in her spiritual lesson of loving herself and her self-worth. After relaying Iyanla’s story, this is what Blanche said I told her, “What if you thanked him for teaching you to learn to value yourself.” That he really didn’t want to act this way towards you but was doing it for you as Iyanla had described from her story. Now this is absolutely a crazy thing to say to someone without the context of the full Iyanla story. I would also add that she was in a place where she could respond to the spiritual wisdom of Iyanla’s story. If she sounded like she was in danger I would have said and done other things. Just wait to you hear what unfolded because my jaw was on the floor.
Flash forward to my couch 8 months later. Blanche told me that when she left my place that day, she called up her husband and thanked him for teaching her to value herself and that she was leaving. She expressed gratitude to him and in that gratitude came forgiveness. She then said it was if the whole world shifted, he became more loving and stopped being abusive. Her relationship with her kids had shifted as well. Her son was living back at home and was expressing mother/son affections (instead of yelling or ignoring her). She went on to describe many loving family experiences. It was her birthday in a few days and her husband was giving her a $1000 shopping spree and then they were heading off to a retreat for the weekend. She further described how this had shifted into her business and that she had found joy in her work again. When she thinks back to that day in my house to where she is now, she wouldn’t have believed it. I couldn’t believe it. She said you have turned my life around and she was beaming.
The turn around she described is astonishing to me because you don’t hear stories like this at least I haven’t. Something I said resonated with her and she acted. I am blessed that I was at the right place at the right time with the right words. It warmed my heart to see Blanche just radiate joy because her life is now so much more. I am still digesting what I heard and how expressing gratitude and forgiveness can change your experience.