Forgiveness Revisited

north shore Lake Superior

 Lake Superior

I am returning to the subject of forgiveness. I have been traveling for quite a few days through miles and miles of forests and lakes. There is nothing out there except forests, water and the Trans-Canada Highway. It gives a woman time to ponder.

There have been times in my life because of something I said or did that I have seen friendships fade away. Sometimes it feels OK and sometimes there is a bit more reckoning that I need to do. I wish forgiveness was an easy process but it always seems so complex. There are times that it is not anyone’s fault that friendships end. They just do. By acknowledging my role in the departure, I choose to not feel angry or hurt. Mostly I am learning not to blame myself and tell myself that I am a bad person. It has taken me over 60 years of my life to understand this and not hurt or feel guilty about it. Mostly I am finally learning to not blame myself for everything. Whew, it has been a long process and I certainly know the learning curve is not over yet.

Sometimes friends come into my life for a short period of time and then we part often with fondness. The end of the friendship is not often spoken of, we just head in different directions. If we see each other again, we greet each other, enjoy some time and then go on our way. Sometimes we never see each other again.

Here is one of the things I don’t understand about forgiveness. Why are some people able to forgive and others not? Why is it important to some and not to others? What is about this act that is so tough and yet can wield such powerful results? What role does religion play in this? I think about the Amish community in Pennsylvania who after a tragic incident at the school, the community went to the wife of the man who killed so many and forgave her and helped her and her children through a difficult time. That took my breath away and it made my heart open. I wonder if I could do this. Hopefully I will never have to know.

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How do I forgive myself? I don’t just look in the mirror and say I forgive you and it is done. I feel that the first step in forgiving myself and others is recognizing that we are all imperfect human beings. Not one of us is without flaws. Maybe then, the first step is to stop expecting so much of ourselves and others. When I can expect less of myself or others then maybe I can begin to forgive myself. I believe that forgiving oneself is where all forgiving starts.

For me, recognizing that I have flaws as well, gives me the freedom to begin to not always blame myself for everything. Part of forgiveness is to acknowledge that I have done everything possible and now I leave it in the universes hands. I am still responsible for cleaning up my act and making sure that I don’t do the same thing again. Maybe the next time I will step back and take more than a moment to assess before I act. Maybe not but I can only hope that would be so.

I find myself grieving for the loss of some friendships. I think grief is a part of letting go and forgiving. At the same time I have begun to feel whole and at peace with this strange thing called relationship. Relationships of any sort are hard. It doesn’t matter if it is a lover, a co-worker or someone you only meet a few times. Relationships are hard!! I can see me still trying to understand and get this point as I age.

I will continue to ponder on forgiveness for a long time to come. Today I am thankful for learning about forgiveness. Today I am grateful for friendships. Today I am grateful that I can still learn and grow and try not to be so hard on myself.

Today I would like to think and feel that I can forgive myself.

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