This is part 3 of 3 in a series titled Avoid the 5 Rs by guest author Peggy Sue Wells. Be sure to read Part 1: For Healthy Relationships and Part 2: Fact Versus Fiction then circle back here for part 3.
“People do what they do for their own reasons and it rarely has anything to do with you.” Steve Binkley
If anyone, the people of Saint Marie du Mont had reason to dive fully into the 5 Rs – rejection, resentment, resistance, revenge, repeat. For years, the residents of the French town were under suffocating oppression from their enemies. Without freedom, adequate food, supplies, and clothing, a natural response to their victimization would be to drop hard into the 5 Rs that destroy relationships.
Instead, for three generations the townspeople have exemplified the opposite of the 5 Rs:
- Sticking to the facts: Saint Marie du Mont is a living museum. The people are keepers of the flame, remembering and appreciating their heroes.
- Celebrating the greatness in others: Every June, the town hosts a boisterous party, inviting American soldiers to come as honored guests.
- Sharing their encouraging story: Arrive in town any day of the year and folks are welcoming and eager to share their history.
- Being graciously generous: Residents have returned letters, an American flag, and other meaningful mementos to the families of soldiers.
- Practicing gratitude: Young and old donate their time and resources to help tell the multi-nuanced story of The Girl Who Wore Freedom.
- Not taking others or themselves too seriously: The people of Saint Marie du Mont line the streets to watch the annual parade, fill the pockets of American soldiers with chocolate, and eagerly converse with American visitors despite language barriers.
The truth is that most things people say or do, don’t say, don’t do, and accidentally do or don’t do hardly ever has anything to do with you. Or me. We’re all just doing our best to live our lives as well as we can.
And yes, occasionally we are deeply hurt. Bullies exist on international as well as individual levels. France was bullied by Germany. Each of us has been treated unkindly. Those closest do reject me. Divorce is pretty serious rejection. Just sayin’.
Rejection, like pain, is a feeling and an experience we go to great lengths to avoid. But if I’m breathing, rejection is part of life. There is something to be learned from both pain and rejection. The vital aspect is how I respond, and the 5 Rs is the antithesis of maturity, healthy relationships, or even good adulting.
Without the 5 Rs, family gatherings really do resemble those longed-for Hallmark greeting card scenes. I can leave my guard down, freely cheer on others, celebrate my beloveds, enjoy relationships, and laugh until milk comes out my nose. It’s all the pie without any of the emotional abuse.
For three generations, the people of Marie Saint du Mont have practiced generosity. Every year they celebrate the gift of liberty a bunch of strangers from the United States provided at the risk of their own lives. Rather than focus on the years of oppression and victimization experienced prior to D-Day, they have shown the world how to stay out of the 5 Rs that ruin relationship. They are the experts in
- sticking to the facts
- celebrating the greatness in others
- sharing their encouraging story
- being graciously generous
- practicing gratitude
- not taking others or themselves too seriously
That is why the story of The Girl Who Wore Freedom is so important to share.
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