A young man, hunched over and staring at the floor, said, When I was a child, I was sexually abused repeatedly by my uncle. Just saying these words makes my stomach ache and my ears burn. I hated him – he ruined my life and I’ve struggled with this all my life. When my father died, my uncle came to the viewing. When I looked at him, all I could see what a mangy, scared, grey and ugly dog. He didn’t speak to me and I didn’t speak to him, but he knew that I knew what he had done all those years. I’m talking about it now because I have to. I have to let it go, let the anger and hatred go, for myself. It has to be an act of my will. I won’t forget what he did, but I have to forgive him so I can move forward with my life. I need to set myself free.
My reaction: My heart ached as I listened to this young man. The abuse is repulsive, and I have had a hard time forgetting the sadness and despair of his words. He will never forget the offense, but forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. I was grateful to be a witness to his decision to forgive and set himself free.
Today’s Promise to consider: There are hurts we suffer that debilitate us for a long time. Although it isn’t easy, forgiving those who hurt us allows us to open our hearts and to feel a sense of serenity and liberty. Today, I will work on forgiving those who have hurt me by turning my will toward love. I will pray for peace that will help me go forward with my life.
Thank you for today’s meditation. Spoke to me profoundly and I truly needed this on this day, at this moment.
It is hard but I will try my best.
Forgiving a son for what he cannot do no matter how hard he tries is easy after 16 years.
Trying to accept and live with reality he might die from drugs is hard. .
I can only keep praying he will forgive himself and want healing more than hell.
Life is For Giving .
I’ve seen glimpses of that soul struggling towards the light. Why relapse is so hard.
If I feel that way, I cannot imagine the hell it is for him.
If it takes courage for me to face life with this reality, how hard for him.
Thank you, Libby
For Giving us hope and support and prayers and love and good meditations
Who do I need to forgive ? What do I need to forgive ? I will work with these questions.
I just read your post from last week. My heart goes out to you. We all know that pain.
I am touched by your statement that it takes courage to go on and live your life with this reality, and how hard it is for him. So true. It is excruciating for us, cannot imagine how hard it is for them.
Seeing glimpses of that soul struggling towards light.
Yes, I see glimmers every now and then too.
To want healing more than hell
Joy your post is very powerful. It speaks of my experience too.
It has been a long road for us too.
I just decorated a Christmas tree tonight. As I leaned over to get an ornament my thought was,”how can I be decorating a tree when my son is out there somewhere struggling in his life?” These are the thoughts and feelings that torture us and slip into our consciousness while we try to go on living our lives with some normalcy after the chaos of the disease stole any semblance of normalcy.
The pain is always there lurking in the background, as we try to have hope, experience some joys, and pray that one day the miracle just might be there.
My other son asked me the other day what I wanted for Christmas . Bless is heart, working on a Christmas list…..I responded like I have for a decade. What I want cannot be bought. And that is the only thing I want, recovery for my son. How beautiful that would be, but I don’t let myself dwell on what that would be like….because it seems like a far fetched notion after all these years.
I will continue to keep him, your son Joy, and all of our sons and daughters in my prayers. I always pray for us, the parents too.
Forgiveness……Libby your share tonight makes me so sad for this young man. Trauma….forever changed and forever that memory that must haunt him. I don’t know how he can forgive that. How hard but so necessary so he rid himself of the toxins created by this trauma.
I can forgive my son of all the hurts and misdeeds. And I can forgive myself too of making mistakes along the way.
But yes, we are forever changed by this disease. Never to be the same. But life events of all kinds do that. It’s inevitable on all of our journeys.
Sending you a big virtual hug, from one mom to another. Be gentle with yourself and take good care.
This week’s meditation hit home with me. I was sexually abused by my Father. I just couldn’t bring myself to forgive him for at least 50 years or more. When he died, I knelt at his casket, said a prayer, and after I prayed, I whispered to my Father – “I forgive you”. I don’t know if the forgiveness came because I knew he couldn’t hurt me anymore, or if it truly came from my heart. I am still struggling with that part of it.
Forgiveness can set you free, but I think it must come from your heart and soul.
I forgave my son over and over again – for the stealing of money and property (which he sold for drug money). Again….I don’t know if I forgave him because he was my son, or if it truly did come from my heart and soul.
My son knew he was loved and I guess that’s all that really mattered to me.
I pray and pray that your son will find his way back to sobriety. My heart goes out to you.
You are so courageous. I pray that your son will find his way back, too.
Take good care of yourselves.
Hugs and love to you, both.
I have worked so hard on forgiveness. I know in my heart that God wants me to forgive, as He has forgiven. I have prayed for His Spirit to grant me the gift of forgiveness. I must somehow still be resistant. I sometimes, in prayer, feel I have forgiven then the past comes back to haunt me and the anger and remembrance of betrayal returns and I am back where I do not want to be.
Share with me, how do you forgive and stay in forgiveness?
My friends, I feel your love and prayers reaching through from this screen. As we wait for a rehab bed to open, as he detoxes yet again, as I feel fragile and so broken open again, shattered really, and I know I can come here.
Jane ,Barbara, Libby you really are my god -sisters.
I once read you cannot “will” Forgiveness. But you can keep open to the possibility and then, maybe it just happens. I want to share something–
It took me 25 years to forgive my first husband for abuse in our marriage and it happened in a flash one weekend. I can’t explain what happened to this day or even what triggered it. But,, something took hold — I could feel what was in his heart. I began to cry. I cried long and hard for three days feeling his deep sorrow and wounds. I knew then it was the wounded who wound, and no it does not excuse behaviour but it explains so much. I wrote him a letter to say all was forgiven as well as accepting responsibility of what I had done and not done in the relationship. He never acknowledged the letter. But that was okay. There was new space between us. I was free.
To really step inside another’s pain instead of our own –does a lot to bring us to deep forgiveness. In Buddhism it is the practice of tonglen. But I did not know that then or plan on that — it just happened. I think now maybe it was grace –maybe I was just weary of carrying my “victimhood” forward. It no longer fit my life. At any rate, I let it go, let it go once and for all. I never “hated” or resented or blamed him again. All I feel when I see him now is deep compassion. Sincere caring.
This morning I found this quote : is about self forgiveness but I thought of all of us and pray this for our children our children :
“Love is the heart’s immortal thirst to be completely known and all forgiven.” Henry Van Dyke
Also found a positive documentary. For anyone who comes here whose loved one is still in active addiction and alive –and because Libby’s book and Jeff’s story give us such hope ..well, here: more good news! I am going to watch it now.
Sometimes I feel like we live double lives carrying on some semblance of normality in the face of what reality we are going through in whatever phase of addiction. It used to make me feel like a hypocrite. Now I realize I have the right to compartmentalize my life when I feel the need to. Open up where i feel safe. We must carry on, we can’t ever ever ever give up. We have our own lives to cherish. Other family members.
Barbara, you have taught me that is possible even in the face of our greatest fear, to live life and keep loving. Through every part of this,no matter what happens, shattered or not, we have so much to offer. xo
Your post is very helpful. I will refer to it often as I continue my journey.
Thank you so much.
You say so eloquently how I feel every day.
“Forgiving a son for something he cannot do no matter how hard he tries is easy after 16 years. Trying to accept and live with the reality that he might die from drugs is hard.”
I pray every day for God to help me accept my son’s reality. Then I move on to enjoy the blessings in my life.
I, like Pat, will refer to your posting when I have trouble forgiving. I, also, had an abusive ex-husband. It took me a long time to forgive him, but I did. It was a very long time ago, when my Father was still living, so I was struggling with both. In the end, I forgave both of them and set myself free from the torment of “not forgiving”. It’s anger that keeps us hostage. It’s a horrible feeling to get rid of.
Thank you so much for sharing and bearing your heart and soul.
Hugs and love to you,
And yes – We are God Sisters, and Libby is our Angel who keeps us all together.
You asked “how do you stay in forgiveness”. I think that is such a good question. I know exactly how you feel. It’s easy to quickly forgive someone for hurting you. But, to stay in forgiveness is another thing.
I pray. I begin each day with prayer. It helps me stay in a good frame of mind. And, sometimes if I have a bad day, I stop whatever I am doing, and pray. I pray for God to help me tame my mind and focus on positive thoughts. I believe if you practice positive thinking, it can help you stay in forgiveness.
With love and respect,
Such powerful words spoken here.
Joy, I lov
Such powerful words spoken here.
Joy, I love what you said “To really step inside another’s pain instead of our own does a lot to bring us to deep forgiveness”. I have carried such anger with me for so many years. Anger at my daughter for the chaos, lies and confusion imposed on us, anger at anyone who did not support or understand my pain, anger at the years of my life spent lost.
One morning I chose to read my book of meditations and it started with “let it begin with me”. I’ve read this passage before but somehow this time it hit me. I guess I was ready for it I don’t know but whatever the reason I was able to see for the first time that it was not just me suffering.
My husband and I have had two very different ways of dealing with our daughters addiction. He will not discuss her at all which has been very difficult and has created a great deal of stress in our relationship. I realize now that this is the only way he knows how to cope with the pain this disease has caused. I don’t know that we will ever fully recover but I can now have some compassion for the pain he is in and understand his silence.
I can’t say that I have found peace yet but life seems to be a little more normal. Maybe its because my daughter has been gone for so long and the chaos we lived has gone from a reality to a memory. I truly miss her. I no longer harbor the resentment for the things she did and the only pain I feel now is the pain that I know she herself must be suffering.
Like you say Pat “how do you stay in forgiveness”? I don’t know either. I’m sure as situations change my emotions will change too. Will I be able to maintain my calm, probably not, but I think that will be OK. I believe we need to feel what we feel but keeping it in check is the hard part.
Love to all
Thanks for the video recommend “The Anonymous People”. I checked with my library and they, themselves didn’t have the video, but I found a web site that you can borrow from. In case anyone is interested, the web site is:
Joy, I am praying that your son soon finds a bed in rehab. I will say extra prayers that he puts this relapse behind him and finds sobriety once again.
Sending love and hugs,