Forgiveness   Leave a comment

There are people in your life
who’ve come and gone,
They let you down,
you know they’ve hurt your pride.
You better put it
all behind you, baby;
’cause life goes on.
You keep carryin’ that anger,
it’ll eat you up inside –
(Don Henley, Mike Campbell, J.D. Souther)

This past year at the library, we’ve started a First Wednesdays Speaker series. Since its inception, we’ve had people in talking about permaculture, books they’ve written, the Beatles, and various other topics. When our speaker for January fell through due to a date conflict, we called a group that had contacted us in the fall wanting to know if we were interested in hosting something called The Forgiveness Project. At that time, we had too much going on, but now we needed someone who could fill in with little notice, and what could be better than talking about forgiveness at the start of the new year? After all, isn’t the new year a time for new beginnings, turning over new leaves, creating a fresh start on life, making resolutions?

The first session drew thirty-two people in addition to me (as host), the two presenters, and the videographer, and I was a little taken aback at how much of themselves people were willing to share in this large, but still intimate, group. The definitions participants gave of what forgiveness is and the reasons why it can be so hard were both profound and moving, and the situations some speakers mentioned made my own seem inconsequential.

Over the course of the evening, I found myself thinking about the anger I have been carrying around for the past eighteen months or so. While it has lessened, it still simmers under the surface of my skin, flaring up when I least expect it. Most of the time, I can keep it at bay by not thinking about it, by focusing on other things. When I spend too much time contemplating my current life, I get dragged down into an abyss it can be hard to extricate myself from, so I generally don’t contemplate it. I try to ignore the past and not think too much about the future. Is this healthy? Probably not, but it’s the best coping mechanism I have found so far. I’m still about five months from the two year mark many experts say brings the grieving to an end, and while I know I am better, stronger person than I was, I still am not healed.

Nor am I ready to forgive.

Does this make me a bad person? I don’t think so. Does it hurt me more than the person I’m not ready to forgive? Probably.

But while forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, it does mean I’ll have to let go of the anger, and I’m not quite ready to do that. Letting go of the anger means reliving the pain, processing the emotions I keep tamped down most of the time so I can function, and, truthfully, I’m not strong enough to do that. Not yet. That anger is part of what keeps me going.

Will I be strong enough someday? Who knows? That’s the ten million dollar question, but for right now I think I’ll stick with what gets me through the day.

With any luck, in a few more years, something — or someone, if I’m very lucky — will have come along to replace that anger, and give me something else to think about. Then I’ll take another look at this forgiveness concept and see how it fits.

Fortunately, it’s not going anywhere, so I think I have some time.


Posted January 28, 2015 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

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