Tag Archive | forgiveness

Leftover hurt

This morning, I saw Facebook pictures of this girl on a night out with my friends.  I was surprised to find myself tearing up, surprised that even now, the sight of her with them still felt like a punch to the gut. She and I had a history, if having someone you loved and trusted go behind your back and turn all your friends against you can be called a history. It left me completely isolated and unable to trust anyone when I desperately needed a support system to deal with bipolar disorder.

But that was more than a year ago. I had already forgiven her, even without her asking. I had forgiven the people who, for months, had listened to her talking against me without telling me anything. I even started spending time with them again, getting back some of the closeness that had been lost. Some friendships never completely recovered, but a few precious ones became stronger than before.

So why did it still hurt?

I searched myself for any desire for revenge, a longing perhaps to see her as isolated as I had been. It honestly wasn’t there. In a twisted way, I understood that what she did was justified to her, and that she had suffered as well. It was never her betrayal that did the most damage anyway, it was the passive response to it of people whom I trusted to have my back. But even those relationships have been slowly repaired.

Gradually, it dawned on me why the wound never completely healed. It was never acknowledged. After the debacle, I withdrew from everybody involved to struggle with my depression on my own. Some made efforts to reach out, but I felt too wary and vulnerable, too exhausted and battered, to respond. It was a long while before I got back in touch, and by that time everyone, including myself, just wanted things to be normal. The incident was glossed over, forgotten, never spoken of again. I could only really talk about it to one person, but to everyone else, it might as well never have happened.

I thought all I needed to do so that I could move on was to forgive. But there’s still some leftover hurt beneath the surface, an aching need for someone to say, “Yes, this happened. It was traumatic, and it hurt you — you’re allowed to be hurt. I’m hurting for you, too.” With life going on as usual, it seemed like the pain didn’t matter, that it wasn’t of any consequence to anyone, even to myself. I buried it under my desire to go back to the way things were, but this morning it reminded me that I still didn’t have closure. It reminded me that forgiveness is one thing, but healing takes not only time, but an acknowledgement that the wound is real in the first place.

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The Thief’s Story

It came to him unbidden, his father’s memory. Here, in his slow execution, it wasn’t his crimes that haunted Ishmael but Abba’s unwavering faith during his severed life. Stoned to death on false accusations, Abba had been innocent, a pawn in games of power.

As was the man dying excruciatingly beside him. Ishmael knew it as surely as he knew of his own guilt — the teacher was blameless. He could also be something more, someone Abba would have recognized. His corrupted heart, humbled at last, could not reject it. Offering what faith he had, he pleaded, “Remember me in Paradise.”

(This is a response to the 100 words challenge in Velvet Verbosity. The word for the week was “unbidden”. I chose this subject because I’ve always wondered about that thief who acknowledged Jesus as he was crucified. What sort of man was he, that he recognized the Messiah in that horrible moment of death when others, even his fellow condemned criminal, did not? This story is just my way of making up an answer to that question. I thought it would be as good a reason to write as any. :-))

 

Day 12 — The person who caused you a lot of pain

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future. ~ Beverly Flanigan

To a certain someone,

It isn’t easy writing this to you. It isn’t, because I have tried so hard not to think about what happened — a defensive reaction, I guess, to a betrayal by someone I love. But there are some things that need to be said.

The first is that, against all odds, I still care about you. I don’t want any kind of revenge, I don’t want you to suffer. But I do need you to know that it doesn’t work that way — you can’t escape your own pain by hurting someone else. Especially someone who was on your side. And I was on your side. You can choose to believe it or not, but I was.

Even now, I’m struggling with the impact of what you did. After one year, the pain isn’t so sharp anymore, but the issue of trust still is still unresolved. Do you have any idea how much I needed to be able to trust people? I needed to know that I was in a safe place, that I was surrounded by those I could rely on to be on my side. Yet you took that away from me when you chose to involve others just to get the sympathy you wanted. For months, I was oblivious to what you were doing, and when I found out, the damage was done. You had isolated me, when what I needed most was to know that I wasn’t alone. Even now, I struggle with believing that I no longer am. Even now, it is still the hardest thing to let myself be vulnerable.

And yet — here comes the hardest part — I forgive you. I forgive you because the last thing I need is for bitterness to grow inside me. I forgive you because this has hurt us both long enough. And most of all, because I have been forgiven, too — over and over again — by those whom I have disappointed and pushed away. One thing I have learned from bipolar disorder is that fear and guilt make you do irrational things, hurtful things, just to protect yourself. I understand the choice you made, perhaps better than you do yourself. And I know it must have hurt you as well. So, for what it’s worth, I forgive you — not with my own strength, but with the Grace that I have experienced when I deserved it the least.

I don’t know if the relationship can ever go back to how it once was. I honestly don’t. But with this, I hope that I’m one step closer to the bridge between us — where, perhaps someday, you and I can meet in the middle.

Sincerely,

A friend


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