It’s all about forgiveness. Maybe being in the second half of my life it’s becoming much easier to forgive. Maybe it’s that there are so many to forgive and so many that need to forgive me! We can start with all 3 of my ex-husbands for instance!
Just recently I wrote my 1st ex. I met him when I was just 17 yrs old…sheesh, just a baby. And then we married when I was 21. It wasn’t a long lived marriage. But recently his name came up in conversation with my Mom because he still lives in the area where I went to HS. So I thought: hmmm, I bet I can find him on the internet. And sure enough, I did–address and all. So I popped him a letter. To give a background, he was 9 years older than me and well into the hippee era. Thank goodness for that, because when he found me in bed with his best friend, his ‘peace, love and granola’ attitude served me and his friend well.
When I wrote him recently then, I had no idea how he would react. I was reaching back through the years. I’ve been on this cathartic path the last few years, sweeping away my demons and making peace with my youthful mistakes. At any rate, it took a bit, but eventually I received this most thoughtful and sweet letter back! I cried my eyes reading it-and while it said nothing about forgiveness, I knew I had been. It was truly a beautiful moment. Someone I had deeply wronged (and the incident I mentioned above was only one of many bad choices I had made with this husband) had the goodness in him to put the past aside and move on.
So, too, my second ex am I fortunate enough to now have a facebook relationship. Again, I was the one to reach out first a year plus ago, as I was putting away my fake Christmas tree. Oddly inside the box (which I had never noticed before) was a hand written letter from many, many years ago from him! It was right around our divorce and his birthday. It was so sad and pitiful and gave me such a pain in my heart. Many things went on in this relationship between the two of us I have to say. We both must take responsibility here. He was raised in a very substance abused family and had it flowing in his veins too. This made our marriage very volatile. When we were good, it was maybe the best one I was in, but when it was bad…well, it was the cavern of hell. Because of this, again I made poor choices and it all came tumbling to a sad ending. But when I found the letter, on New Year’s Eve, again, I found him on the Internet (how could we forgive without it!) and called the number I found! There was no answer, but I left a message: you might remember me, you were once married to me. Through a circuitous route, after losing he lost my numbers, we did eventually speak. A 2.5 hour conversation, one where we could finally hear the other person’s words. And after all those years, all was forgiven. Just like that….
My last husband, the father of all my daughters, well, I am still working on that one. He isn’t ready to forgive me yet. I have asked, but…. I messed that one up badly. Hurt him, three kids, the kid’s relationships with each other. And for what? His only transgression was being a man. I thought I could find a knight in shining armor that would give me flowers every day, write me love notes all the time, tell me I was beautiful constantly blah blah blah. Instead he was many other things I didn’t appreciate until I had dated countless men after we were divorced. He was a wonderful father, a good provider, funny, caring, hard working, handsome even, athletic and smart. But I was too young and foolish to get it. So I wait for that one to come. Maybe someday…
I’m not sure forgiveness coming from a priest or God would work for me. Getting it straight from the person I’ve wronged is so cleansing. I surely can see the value in it though and I’m not dissing it by any means. Whatever works. But holding onto something and not forgiving is so harmful to one’s soul. The person may feel that he/she is hurting that other person, but truly they are only putting holes in the fabric of their heart. There is such a freeing feeling when someone forgives you or you them. A sense of peace washes over you and it allows space inside you for other more important things that the negative energy was taking up.
For me though, forgiving myself is that hardest task. Some days, when I’m hammering away in the pool doing my mile and I feel strong and bold, I feel I can forgive myself anything. But others, when an ambulance call didn’t go right, and my boss is crabbing at me, and people at work are talking behind my back, and I remember I don’t have a boyfriend–it’s those times I think: all the things I ever did make me a bad person and I can never forgive myself and why should anyone else? These are the times though, that any of us who may feel this way, must scoop way down to the bottom of our psyche, and realize our worth. Whatever may be bombarding us from the outside, is just that: the outside–not what’s in us. And what’s inside of ourselves is a work in progress. A person that might make a mistake, but hopefully would say they are sorry if they do. Someone that tries the hardest they can to do the right thing in the moment that they are in. If it turns out to be the wrong thing, they will correct it and not do it again. And most of all, don’t dwell on the past, for it is gone. And that’s the beauty of forgiveness. We are all here now, in the present. Whatever we did then, it’s over and done.
I’m forever amazed at the mothers forgiving their child’s murderers or abused children forgiving their parents. But it happens. It makes them all better people. And that’s our goal while walking this plane of existance isn’t it? To be the best we can be.