Honor and Roadkill

“Honor thy mother and thy father and you shall live a long life”

I grew up hearing this phrase as a child in a conservative christian family. At the time, it was accompanied by puppet tales of rabbits who died after not following this rule.

If you didn’t honor your mother and father – you ended up as roadkill.

That message is a bit startling to hear, especially as a child.

There are two ways to stop a moving car; you can smack the hood of the car with the STOP sign, prompting the driver to slam on their brakes and panic. Or, you can place the STOP sign on a street corner, allowing the driver to approach the sign and stop their car once they read the sign.

I like the idea of casually stopping at an intersection, giving me time to think about the next turn. It’s a lot better than pulling a metal sign out of a broken windshield.

It took me a good part of my 20’s to understand the application of this message.

Honor is a form of remembering the past; creating mindful observance of defined actions, rules, and experiences.

My own past is full of times where I didn’t get things right. More often than not, I made mistakes that could have easily been avoided. Fortunately, these moments serve as the necessary correction points to ensure they don’t happen again in the future.

“I don’t always get it right.”

Isn’t it a relief to read that? To say aloud? I envision myself proclaiming these words from the top of a tall building and instantly find elation and self-forgiveness.

Forgiving yourself tends to be followed by new sparks of joy you didn’t know was inside of you.

“We don’t always get it right.”

I’ve found it’s a lot easier to catch and release mistakes, by others, when I don’t expect perfection, nor hold them to that impossible golden standard. Life happens to the best of us, and we’re all capable of inflicting pain on others with our thoughts, words, and actions.

Honoring others isn’t putting them on a golden pedestal. Rather, it’s holding them close enough to you so that you offer them the same forgiveness you require for yourself, with a shared goal of doing things better in the future.

I didn’t always get things right as a Plaat child, neither did my parents. However, I’ve seen how the deep roots of mutual respect have allowed us to move on from our mistakes, walking in the harmony forgiveness brings.

Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash

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