People do things to others that hurt.
Mistakes, misguided conclusions, disregard for the feelings of others, thoughtlessness and sometimes willful expressions of darkness.
These things just role through our lives and we have no power to avoid them.
There you are a happy little Shad fly moving through the air one minute and the next you’re splattered across the windshield of someone else’s Mac truck.
Woefully careening down the highway out of the drivers seat. Completely impacted by someone else’s journey. You want to just fly off but it’s too late for that … you’re splattered.
You have no control over the feelings and the experience.
Or so it seems.
For days …months … sometimes years that word unspoken festers inside.
The mention of the name of the offender calls forth emotions that turn the most otherwise calm individual into a ranting, seething warrior.
I know someone who has harbored such pain for literally decades.
She refuses to view forgiveness as anything other than the power she wields over the transgressions she feels were committed against her.
I’ve heard the story, countless times… admittedly some of the things that were said were hurtful.
But that was a generation ago.
Life has continued to flow, children have been born and raised and even death has visited her family.
So why then does she refuse to release the past after suffering the weight of resentment for so long?
I think we do this because we think we learn so early that forgiveness is the final power we hold over a people who hurt us.
” I will forgive you if you crawl/buy me something/go harm someone else”
We feel powerless when we get splattered! Our response from some sort of shortsighted perspective is to imagine that by withholding forgiveness we hold the power to never be hurt by that person again.
And this requires work.
Almost invariably the offender starts cow towing to the victim, birthing a toxic relationship with a short life expectancy.
it’s short because not many of us will choose to endure the shitty feelings of being judged on past “learning opportunities” for an indeterminate time.
And so the offender exits the highway and the victim is left with nothing but the one side of the story, which permanently traps her in the pain of the moment that happened long ago at the moment of the perceived transgression.
I’ve literally heard people say... I will hate that guy til they bury me.
in so doing the victim mindlessly squanders every tomorrow canvas they have to paint, with the splatter of some putrid color they really are not fond of.
Because to forgive would force me feel the vulnerability to reoccurrence of pain by surrendering the power.
News flash … The ONLY Power I have over the past is the power to choose to not let it burden me today so that I might bring my full self and ergo make tomorrow’s past better.
This also takes work !
Sometimes the lust for power seduces me in dim lights with sexy underwear.
It breathlessly whispers to me: “they don’t deserve my forgiveness. ” it moans “If I let them off the hook they will just do it again”
While both of these ponts may be true, it is the victim who ultimately carries the toxins of anger while the offender hardly feels the ankle bracelet he has been condemned to by the victim.
Forgiveness can only work it’s magic when BOTH the person seeking forgiveness and the forgiver want to feel better.
The problem is that in some deep dark recessed place in my mind …I kinda like sexy underwear… I forget that power over others is not my prerogative and that I am actually taxed by the weight of harboring resentment.
And so by not forgiving I join the team of people that do things that hurt… ME!
Only thing is that in this process I also hurt other people … like the ones closest to me.
I do so by hanging on to past transgressions so they do not see my fullest light, since some of it remains hidden behind the weight of yesterday’s mistakes.
I deny those I am closest to the manifestation of my best self.
Making tomorrow’s past less than it can be.
Sometimes I feel I need to decide to never expose myself again to that person.
But as I walk away I have to remember – do I want to start my journey today with the added weight of yesterday’s pain?
Or do I want to take the energy I would invest in that goose chase and direct it to lightening my load by learning how to forgive those who hurt me?
Making tomorrow’s past better.