For as long as I can remember, I have ridiculed forgiveness and mocked it without concern about how I would be perceived. I always thought of forgiveness as something people did for selfish reasons; i.e., to raise themselves up above others as some sort of demigod, someone who was better than all the others who could not or would not forgive. I also thought the reason people forgave others was for redemption. Maybe others were forgiving me all my life; I don’t know. But I just did not recognize it, and I don’t recall forgiving as part of my personality. Fuck ’em, I would think, they’re the ones who mistreated me. Why should I forgive them?
And then something happened. I was hurt badly by someone, so much so that I honestly thought my relationship with that person was over. Not only was I hurt, I felt totally betrayed and angry. I didn’t understand how or why I was treated the way I was. It ate at me from the inside out. It seemed like every morning, I would be tearful or angry because I just didn’t get it and couldn’t get over it.
Not once did I think about forgiving this person. Never entered my mind. I tried as best I could to let the whole thing go, and the only way I was able to do that was to reduce my communications with that person to a minimum. This actually helped. By not thinking about that person as much, I was able to deal with my own personal torture and move on to some extent.
And so life went on. This was someone I loved very much, but I stuck to my guns and had very little communication with this person. A few phone calls, a few text messages, but none initiated by me. That was part of my way of dealing with the situation.
And then slowly, over a period of time, this person began to communicate with me more. There was no actual apology (I still wish today for that), but I began to allow myself to open up more in spite of my hurt and anger. And the hurt and anger started to dissipate, not overnight, but slowly and steadily, without my even realizing it. I still had trust issues, but I loved this person so much that I felt it was worth it to begin to trust again.
Things were rocky at times, but I allowed myself to keep moving forward. I started reaching out to this person, and the relationship was no longer just one way. The love between us began to grow again, like a tiny little bulb that began pushing itself out of the ground after a long hibernation.
It was then that I realized what forgiveness was and what it was doing to me. This was not a religious experience, but it was an awakening, a true understanding of how healing it was to forgive someone.
Now I love this person with all my heart and while the past is not forgotten, it is no longer torturing me. It’s not about the other person, and it’s not even about verbalizing your forgiveness to that person. It’s about how something can eat at you forever, or you can forgive.
I guess that’s what forgiveness is all about.
PS I didn’t post for two years because I was too busy being hurt and angry and then, at last, forgiving. Maybe now I’ll be able to post more.