I remember reading The Colour Purple as a young woman and being struck by the way in which the main character ended up having relationships with people who had done her harm in her life. I was young and inexperienced at the time and could not imagine how she could forgive these people and allow them back into her life.
Now that I am on the autumn side of my life, I can relate to that a little more. Over the years, I have found myself letting go of old grievances with people and moving on in our relationships. I have found myself feeling lighter with my two parents over the last few years as they get older and frailer. I find myself forgiving them for their failings and limitations as parents; for being insensitive; for not seeing me; for abandoning me. I find myself feeling more compassion for them; understanding that they were just kids when they became parents; knowing that they did the best they could.
My older sister and I once had an argument where irrevocable things were said. We did not talk for 6 months and then one day, when we bumped into each other at a soccer field, we just picked up where we left off. Our relationship was changed but better; as if the argument, and the absence from one another’s lives, helped us to define the boundaries of our relationship and to appreciate each other more.
One of my oldest friends once had an affair with the man who is now my husband. He and I had been living together for a few years when he decided that he wanted to separate. During this time, he got involved with a woman who would later become his daughter’s teacher. When he and I got back together, I met her through his daughter. A funny thing happened; I could see why he got involved with her. Over time, she and I became friends; meeting for lunches by ourselves; something we have continued for more than 20 years. I have always been a little surprised at myself that I was able to do this; wondered what gift of grace allowed me to invite this woman into my circle.
I am reminding myself of these instances of forgiveness and grace because I am in need of reminding. I feel full of anger these days; I feel betrayed, unsupported, and unseen; and it eating away at me. This anger feels like a heavy weight that I carry around with me. It leaks into my life in ways that disappoint and embarrass me. I want to let this anger go. I don’t want to be this bitter person who feels disappointed in people and life. But I am not quite sure how to start.
A good friend of mine believes that we cannot make forgiveness happen; that it is a state of grace; something that happens when we are ready or blessed with it. I think there is truth in that but I think there are things that we can do to make the ground fertile for forgiveness. So, this week, I am going to pray for grace; for the anger to dissipate; for the feelings of disappointment to lift. I am going to pray for joy in my life again.
- Forgiveness is a process (celestealluvial.wordpress.com)
- Forgiveness: Truly Letting Go (leslieannvarela.wordpress.com)
- The Magic of Forgiveness and 7 Steps to Get There (actingoutwithangela.com)
- Forgive and Forget (itrustmyjourney.wordpress.com)
- The Perennial Debate: Anger v.s. Forgiveness!!!!!!! (celestinerhythm.com)
Forgiveness is a huge one. I know there are times when I think I have forgiven and then something happens and it comes right back up. Someone once told me that forgiveness is a process. If that is the case then the work I did to forgive is just another step along the way. I just read a book by Janet Conner called Writing Down Your Soul. In her book she discusses her journey to forgive an abusive husband and how it heal her relationships. Her method of listening to your own internal voice might interest you.
Thank you Janice…for the suggestion. I know what you mean about thinking that you have forgiven…I keep thinking I’ve got these feelings under control, and they sneak out somewhere in an unexpected way. You take care…kim
i hope you receive what you pray for! :)
Thank-you…I will let you know if it helps!! Kim
kp….From reading this it is clear that you are a great person to all the many ppl in your life. Your relationship with your sister and parents as it is now is the result of your own love, strength and willingness to think outside of what you have always known and been. It was your own understanding and intuition that you listened to and answered. You even applied this to your husbands ex mistress….I will tell you now that is rare, it just does not happen often. That is hugely impressive on your part and says a lot about the kind of person you are. And that person is someone I would have, or love to have as a friend….someone who I could also learn from….You should feel very proud for these accomplishments, and it is a crime that you are not experiencing contentment as a result….Usually there is more to the story than the writer can or will tell….and it is that way for everyone. I just met you but your important life choices you have made speak loudly and obviously of a wise and kind hearted woman, one who is able to do anything she desires to do, and do it with much grace…..As for where to start, you are already ahead of the game….my own intuition combined with my experience tell me that your present struggles are largely due to issues you have with your own self….there is something you need to forgive yourself for, or the manner of your self talk is sarcastic and inflicting….you are inflicting yourself with these pains and this makes your present state magnified and out of proportion….I have been here and we all have these issues of self love and self forgiveness…There is a solution and it is so near to you that you can breathe it in at anytime….Please, I invite you and welcome you to contact me at my personal email if you need to talk in a more private manner….I would love to help you along in what you are struggling with and I have some of my own pearls of wisdom that I would be willing to share with you to help you sort things out and heal, ultimately finding the peace and answers that you are desperately searching for…..anytime, my email is email@example.com
As for your good friend who believes you cant make forgiveness happen and that it is a state of grace, this belief could not be farther from the truth and you should not concern yourself with that way of believing…..not only is it a dead end street, it is not true nor practical for anyone…..
Here are some links to posts on my blog that can help you. Read them when you have time because they are life changing thoughts and principles. You are welcome to share your thoughts about them with me and ask any questions you may have. Below are the links……..
I know you have looked at my latest post ‘Forgiveness is a process’, but I encourage you to read and reread it again to help your mind absorb and retain the content…..
http://celestealluvial.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/smile-through-the-tears/ (an inspirational poem for you)
http://celestealluvial.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/kiss-the-son/ (an inspirational song for you)
I know this is a lot of links, but each contain something for you….something of value….something you can relate to, understand, and apply….I can sense your great and earnest desire to find truth and peace, and I feel compelled to help you how I can….my heart goes out to you, and I wish you the very best….in fact I am confident that you will have great success in finding the things you search for….
much love and peace to you
First of all, a big hug to you for having come this far! What I am going to tell you are things I learnt on my own journey. The first is accepting that you are indeed feeling angry; anger most of all is an expression to cloak our fears. Also this anger that you are feeling, it could be because somewhere along ……..while choosing to look beyond people’s behavior, you may have overlooked something that your inner child is feeling. Is she feeling that you haven’t really looked after her? Go to a quiet place…sit down ( you can light a white candle if you feel like it) and first of all…open a dialogue with your inner child. Tell her that you know, she is feeling angry and upset and most of all scared…………….may be somehwere along the line…even though you chose to forgive the action, you are still carrying the bruises of that action and that is causing the anger to return. This might take a while as your inner child needs to feel confident and open in sharing these feelings with you. Do tell her that you are now there for her and you will protect her and listen to her. If this small exercise gets you started….let me know and I will share some more exercises to deal with what comes out as a result of this exchange.
You know in a way, even though you are feeling bitter and overwhelmed right now, the Angels are there with you and there are showing you the way to completely heal yourself. They are bringing to your consciousness, feelings and hurt that still need to be resolved and it is a beautiful thing. When you are through with this part of the journey….you will know how loved, appreciated and supported you truly are.
Lots of Love and Light
Rumi – Celestine Rhythm
Thank you for the support and the suggestons….I will give that a try…Kim