This has been a difficult year in the life of our family. Some serious surgical issues, a severely depressed son who has challenged all of our family connections and resources. Along with those, business downturns, which in retrospect haven’t been as challenging as the family issues, but have provided its own problems. Tearfull layoffs of employees because of these downturns. My own particular issues with discipline in writing my master’s thesis. Along with that, some trust issues in my own marriage. And yet life goes on.
Some of this has prompted my focus on forgiveness, which may be the lesson I take from these difficulties. How well can I forgive? I found I haven’t been too good at it. I had the proverbial lousy and emotionally abusive first marriage and I’ve learned (no big surprise here) I had never forgiven my ex for his immaturity (mine too), his undependability, and his inability to meet my needs nor connect to his two incredible sons in almost any capacity. In the process of dealing with my son’s depression and the problems encountered in my own life, I have thoght much about forgiveness.
I wrote a letter to my ex – of course not one to be mailed. Just for me. Forgiving my ex. Spelling out in written terms what I needed to forgive him for, and why. While I was writing it, I felt so fake. I didn’t feel it, believe it, want to do it, accept it. But I found – afterwards – that it slowly began to come true. I very slowly, inch-by-half inch, began to believe it. This doesn’t (and hasn’t) changed his behavior at all. Of course not. Writing the letter wasn’t about him. It was a gift to me, to let go of these darkly poisonous emotions that can and have pushed me down too many times. But I’m beginning to believe it. I’m beginning to let go of things I don’t need anymore. I don’t think I’m completely there yet, and I backtrack on occasion, then I remember that this is a gift to me. To let go, after decades, of hating this man, of wishing him ill, of regular anger because of his continuing unwillingness to be a father (yet hating him when he shows up for the good times). This was for me. This really was for me. And for my sons. They don’t need my poisoned emotions.
In the process, I’ve also learned that I must forgive me. This is likely the most important lesson. Forgive me for not being the perfect mother, for having my own sometimes life-changing needs, for being angry at my own parents…for not being perfect. And so much more.
This from a woman who claims not to enjoy perfection. I find beauty in the imperfection of life. Today I will work on the letter to me. To forgive me. I will go back to the postcard to my younger self (here on Vibrant Nation), and write more. What a lovely idea. I wish I could have sent it to me from years ahead – not to worry so much about perfection. Ask for forgiveness from others, but more importantly, offer it to myself.
Perhaps my experiences this year is important in my evolution so that I can learn better how to forgive. I’m working on it.