“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.” ~ Khaled Hosseini,
It’s a process.
You want to but you don’t want to. You tried, you failed, you tried again. You were sure you did it and then it all came back…all that anger and pain.
Yes, the things they did and said…this one and that one and the other one. Ugly little things. Ugly big things. Terrible things. How could they? And now they go about their lives. As if nothing happened and you didn’t even exist.
Still, you want to be the better person. But it hurts. Because you struggle and they do not. Or at least that’s how it seems.
Because you of course are right. You are the victim here. You were wronged and suffered so. Maybe still do. At the very least, you’re annoyed. Really annoyed.
And yes, you want to forgive and move on and you wish them well, all of them. Through clenched teeth.
You know you haven’t forgiven. Because you still think about them. They invade your dreams, you’re curious about them. Are they doing well? Did they fail yet?
You feel guilty for not forgiving them, so you lie to yourself that you did. Look, you’re not poking some voodoo dolls or setting them on fire, are you? Of course not. You don’t wish bad things on anyone.
But wouldn’t it be nice if they got a taste of their own medicine? And wouldn’t it be nice if they never hurt you in the first place, and you had everything you wanted, in the way you wanted it, since you deserve it…because you’re a good and honest person, and you work hard and you give everything.
And so it goes, round and round.
Until one day when hopefully you’ve had enough. And no longer wish to choke, even on your own entitlement.
In that moment, you finally see you are the one carrying this awful, heavy thing around. It doesn’t matter how you got it or who created it. The only thing that matters is that it’s yours, and you are the one who isn’t free.
You also see how many mistakes you’ve made. Maybe not at the level others did, but you’ve been wrong too. Doesn’t it hurt to imagine you were not forgiven…that someone, somewhere is carrying around a bundle full of blame with your name on it?
As impossible at it seems…this forgiving everyone for everything…is the only way. Forgiveness isn’t measured. It’s all or nothing. Just as you can’t ‘sort-of’ carry something heavy in your arms…you either carry it or put it down.
And again, you do it not because anyone else deserves it, not because you necessarily understand everything, or that you are in exactly the place you want to be, or that they apologized and made amends, or that you’ve had this amazing breakthrough and you’re now the wisest, most compassionate human alive.
You let it go because you’re tired of carrying this thing around and you need your arms for other things. Better things.
It’s that simple.