As I sit looking at my Christmas tree I’m thinking about people, loneliness, isolation and what causes so many people to end up “alone”. Christmas is a time where we spend a lot of our thinking time and reminiscing, and many of those memories involve people who are no longer in our lives. Some have left because they’ve passed away, some may have just drifted on to a new life and some may be missing because there was, or is, a rift too deep to bridge. I think the later are the hardest of all to bear.
In my last blog I spoke of real love, of love in a romantic notion and the power that it has when we just accept the good with the bad. Truly that’s what forgiveness can entail, accepting the good with the bad; but it can also mean forgiving hurts that have cut so deep it feels like wounds that will never heal. When you’re a little kid and you get a scab your mum will say “don’t pick at that…” and there’s a good reason too, the more you pick at it, the deeper the wound will be and ultimately the more scarred you will become. It’s the same with hurt, the more we look back at it the more we damage our own hearts. That’s where the magic of forgiveness comes in, it frees you and let’s the scab fall off.
So I hear you say “but I’ve been so wronged, they’ve ruined my life, I could have been someone else, I could have had more….”. Could’a, should’a, would’a; the reality is we don’t control the past, we don’t even have control over those who wrong us but we do have control over how we react to it all. Do we go back to the wound daily, creating a deep emotional scar? Or do we say “it is forgiven” and move along, living our best lives? Forgiveness, comes in many guises and there is some forgiveness which is offered from the heart and will never be heard by the recipient, we will never understand why it happened to us but we allow ourselves to be free. There are people who you may never want to set eyes on ever again, but by releasing them from your heart you create space for new things, and new love.
Then there is “daily forgiveness”, falling out with a friend or someone you love, quite often because both parties feel somewhat aggrieved. I’ve lost so many friendships and gained them back, simply because I chose to recognise I needed their forgiveness; and at the times someone bugs me or feels disposable, that’s when I remember the most those who have forgiven me. I had to exercise such patient yesterday, someone had irked me, and then I realised there was no hurt or intent in their actions. Clumsy? Yes. Did it need my twenty minute silent treatment? Possibly not. So I text saying “we cool?”. We were. I instantly felt better.
Life is incredibly short and can feel pretty tough at times. Most people have felt abandoned or lost, under appreciated, used and, sadly, abused. I want to share with you a story of my brother, he wasn’t “ours”, his mam wasn’t able to do what most Mammy’s can and his young life was broken in many ways; so he came to us and he was “ours” from the minute he walked through the door, or alternatively I was his from the minute they took me home on Christmas Eve. If you ask my brother about his mammy he will never ever utter a word against her or her little heart. Many would have felt abandoned and lost, but he forgave her with the most willing of hearts; in return my brother is the most loving, honest and caring man you will ever meet. His forgiveness is spectacular, as is his soul and we are all the better for learning from him.
I am not right with everyone in my life, there are bridges that could be mended and maybe some hurts that I need to let go of. I have one friend in particular that I miss dearly and I know it needs fixing, and that’s the hardest part about forgiveness. Sometimes you need to ask for it, even if you feel aggrieved in doing so.
My sister once told me “that offering forgives when you least expect it will change your life immeasurably”. There is never a truer word said. I thought my best pal in the world hated me at school. I asked her to forgive me. Now we she is more solid to me than the oaks that stand the toughest winds. My life is enriched by both proffering and receiving forgiveness. Sometimes you don’t even have to offer the words out loud, sometimes you just have to close your eyes and let it all go….
It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year, and if you want to offer a really special gift think about forgiveness. Right a wrong with someone who maybe does, or doesn’t deserve it. Close the wounds and enjoy the freedom it brings.
I will leave you with my three favourite forgiveness quotes:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.
Love cannot survive without forgiveness and forgiveness cannot be offered without love.
Forgiveness is not an attribute of the weak, only the strong can forgive.
All my love