for·give – verb \fər-ˈgiv, fȯr-\
: to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone)
: to stop feeling anger about (something) : to forgive someone for (something wrong)
That is a simple word but a complex concept. When you forgive, do you really ever forget it? Is anger something of which you can ever fully let go? Can one really take a hurt, a pain, a slight, and just never pay mind to it again? When there is a car crash, there is a significant population that can’t get back into car for some time, for fear of it happening again. As a human, designed to remember things that cause pain and threaten the homeostatic state of your mind, body, and soul, and in turn avoid, forgiveness is something that we strive for and very often fall short.
Back in 2006, I lost two beautiful people in my life. They were brutally murdered by someone they had trusted. It was a major shock, bringing about the usual feelings and sentiments of people being gone too soon, and never getting the chance to say goodbye. People connected to the situation and I all felt a rage and hatred for the man who had taken our worlds from us. It’s a pain that few experience, and those who do will never be the same.
Spring break that year, my college roommate Jessica and I went to North Carolina to visit her childhood friend. She is a devout Christian, and so we join her at her weekly Christian prayer group, and the topic of the evening was forgiveness. The speaker went on about Jesus forgiving, and how we should strive to be like him. That is what he would want.
The fury of being in a situation with an inexperienced person telling you about what you should do with said situation, completely enveloped me. I discussed the topic with the ladies after the group, and I just didn’t care what religion says about it. How can I forgive a man who selfishly removed from the earth people he was supposed to protect? I hated him then, and I hate him still.
That aside, I need to learn how to forgive. This is something that we are all told we should do in our lives, but has anyone really been taught how? Every situation where someone needs to be forgiven is like a wound. I know that’s cliché, but it works for me. The way that a lot of people “deal” with the wound is to just cover it up and let it close up as nature would see fit. For me, that needs to stop. I’m tired of covering things up regardless of what bacteria might fester in it. I need to look at these wounds, which still won’t close, remove debris, clean it out, and properly bandage it. I need to see exactly what damage was done.
Here we go!
I need to accept what has happened between The Man and I, and move forward. To tell of why I need to forgive him, I need to tell the story of who he is to me. Tomorrow marks one year since the day we met. It was at the Stumble Inn on the Upper East Side, and how we got there is a most serendipitous of scenarios. The stars aligned, a cab ran a red light in the Financial District, and a cat ate a moth in Washington Heights, which led to him being there alone, and my girlfriends and I sitting down in a booth, his booth. I sat on a black, sleek looking jacket. Immediately, I told the girls that someone was sitting there, and just as I finish my sentence, a young guy with a narrow mouth, big blue eyes, short light-brown hair comes up and says he’s saving that booth. I can’t say anything. My girlfriend, on the other hand, points out that we are three, and he is just one, so… I invite the handsome young guy to join us. He sits down next to me. I fell in love.
–Disclaimer: There was no infidelity in this relationship. It was a dedicated relationship from beginning to end. Prior to creating this post, the topic was discussed by The Man and I.
Recently, it all fell apart. I have to forgive the transgressions, which as it turns out, never changed his affections for me, nor mine for him. If anything, it was nothing more than his mental confusion that led him to those transgressions. For that, I should have done everything in my power to create a happy and safe environment for our love to flourish. We had diplomatic and honest conversations about it all, but still I wanted him to crawl back to me, begging for forgiveness. I made him suffer. There was not a single day, a single moment when, given the chance, I wouldn’t remind him of what he has ever done. No one should ever go through that.
I can’t tell him it’s ok, nor should I ever have to. But I have to stop holding this over his head as though he has forgotten. He is an emotional and incredibly sweet guy who will always remember the pain he caused. That wasn’t fair to him and, for that, I feel the need to ask for forgiveness. I did want to let it go and just have him, but I wouldn’t let it happen because my pride was badly damaged.
Truly though, I made a mountain out of a molehill with the problems toward the end of the relationship. By no means is this little attempt at forgiveness a removal of blame. Also, this is in no way, shape, or form, me going through the motions of “I could have done more! Why didn’t I do more?” He is responsible for what he had done, and has since apologized profusely. I am apologizing as well. I see the blade that cut me. I see the wound left behind. And in some roundabout way, I am able to forgive him. Remember the good and keep that in my pocket for a rainy day, and truly let go of the bad. They have no place here.
The transgression, which I am forgiving, is merely a cloud in an otherwise clear blue sky. With true forgiveness, this cloud will pass revealing something stronger and truer about myself, and the relationship I had shared with him. It’s already well on its way!