Dominique, my hospice counselor, said: When there has been harm done between two people, the choice to love takes on the face of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a permanent state. Why? Because the decision to love is not permanent. You cannot say to someone, “I chose to love you last year,” as though it were sufficient. The person would rightly respond, “Well, what about today!?” Love is always in the here and now. Forgiveness, therefore, must be repeated. My choice to forgive does not immediately heal the wounds.
My reaction: When we’re hurt by someone, we often need to forgive them many times for the same thing. The cuts are deep and our pains do not disappear after a single decision to forgive. I used to believe that once I made the choice to forgive, the fire in my belly would extinguish, but this is not the case. Forgiveness is ongoing.
Today’s Promise to consider: Today, I willing come to the table of forgiveness. I choose to forgive someone who has hurt me, and I will continue to choose over and over, every time I feel the pain arise. I will be patient with myself. As Jeff reminds me, “Time heals all wounds, but time takes time.”
I especially like what Libby said – “forgiveness is ongoing”. In my opinion, forgiveness must be ongoing or your heart and soul would go the other way (hate). I don’t like to ever use the word hate, for it will eat away at us until it destroys us.
It’s so difficult to forgive some things, especially when the things that you are trying to forgive are heinous or things that literally break your heart.
If we can forgive (on-going), we can find that personal freedom Libby is talking about.
Thank you Libby, for bringing resentments to light in these meditations. I feel that if we can relinquish the resentments by forgiving, we are doing what Jesus would do. If he could forgive his killers, I think I can try to be a better forgiver. And tomorrow morning, I will pray for just that.
Love to all of you,
Forgiving myself is the hardest.
How I can relate to your comment about forgiving yourself.
Forgiving myself is the most difficult for me, too. I am still working on that. It will likely be a lifelong battle for me. I still blame myself (in many ways) for my son’s demise.
Prayer helps me. I pray to God, every day, to help lift the burden of guilt, for it will eat away at your soul.
I will pray that someday, you will begin to forgive yourself.
With love and respect,
Dear Barbara and Paula,
Ah – forgiving self. So very true and so very hard. I’ve struggled with this for years. In fact, I wanted to write the last forgiving entry on forgiving self, but Jeff thought that three entries on forgiving was enough. I’m deeply grateful for his help and rely on his good judgment. Amazing, how far we’ve come.
It took me years to forgive myself, and I still have to forgive myself again and again. Questions plagued me for years: Where was I? Why didn’t I see the truth,? Why did I live in illusion and delusion,? Why didn’t I parent better both sons? and the list goes on.
As parents we do our best and that’s all we can do. As Dr. MacAfee says, ‘Society gives us no rules to live with addiction.’ Sure I made plenty of mistakes, but I never wanted to. I didn’t know what to do.
I pray for grace, and I’m learning to be compassionate with myself.
My love to you both,
Paula – yes, we hear you. Once someone asked me what would happen if I forgave myself and let go of guilt and blame and shame–the sadness over my son — and I realized I was hanging on to those things because at some level I felt it somehow proved how much I loved him –t olet go of that would mean I’d abandoned him somehow. I love my son but hanging onto guilt is a way to punish myself. I love Dr. McAPhee –yes, we do have to find new rules to live by — because society gives messages that can really hurt —sometimes just watching a television commercial can make me weep. All those happy so called normal families. I do not begrudge others their happiness and hope I never will but I feel envy sometimes because I can’t say “my kids are great or even okay. So.. I’ve learned comparisons are deadly to my mental health. I’ve learned family and friends get uncomfortable because they do not know what to do with the truths we are living, Sometimes I think it is truly like living in a different world –you walk through a door into a world where you have to be brave brave braver than you ever could have imagined.
If I can find a way to have more peace than anger or fear in the midst of the madness that is addiction — that is gift to me and our family. Self forgiveness is the only way. Yes, it’s easy to slip back into old patterns and cycles of doubts regrets and what ifs.
So.. I pray and come here and here we all are, helping to heal each other. And that is a kind of love. And love heals. And that’s a good cycle to help hold on to hope.
Paula, I so hear you and beam you that Love love love. No matter what, you did the best you could with where you were and who you were at the time. For me it was/is so hard to realize my best was not good enough to get the results I hoped for. My healed child. But this is not failure. This is realizing I am not God. This is deepening in faith -this is finding out about the patience of JOB. (:
I am deeply touched by your comments. You are wise and getting wiser. Your comments are so true. If we all can only put use to them, we can heal ourselves.
Thank you so much for your post. It helped me so much.
Lots of love
Barbara, to help you after you given me so much courage and faith makes me happy. You taught me if the worst I fear happens, life can and does go on and the journey of our faith never ends. You have given me the greatest gift -that even in the pain and grief of ultimate loss-we must never give up on ourselves and we can still reach out and be there for others. I lost my brother last year from cancer and this site helped me cope with that loss ,too. Your sharing your story makes your son’s precious life mean so much. I pray for you and all of us every day. I do not know why, I might still want answers, I might always wish it were otherwise, but peace can be found. I can take responsibility for being an imperfect human being but refuse self-blame for my son’s addiction. Mantra: I was and I am a good mother who loved and loves her son. Much love to you and Libby and Paula too whose one sentence response here broke my heart wide open.