Forgiveness. Not An Easy Business.



A few years ago, I had a falling out with a dear friend, two as matter of fact.  One simply got up one day and walked out of my life after 15 years of friendship.  The other made a grander exit with an enormous scene that impacted my family.  In passing years, it too great courage to forgive those two people.  After all, I, at one point, trusted them with my life.  Never in a million years was I prepared for the betrayals I experienced. 


I spent the first year stewing and being angry.  As time passed, I began to forgive them.  Even though the pain was always there from the hurt I experienced, I could get pass it by remembering fondly the wonderful parts of the friendships.  I choose to remember how much the friendship meant to me, the fun and the support they offered.  I refused to have the memory ruined with the final days of betrayal. 

I learned to move on in solitude.  I kept to myself.  I am a very friendly, warm and social person. I made new friends, but it was never quite the same.  I kept a safe distance. I put up a wall to prevent such acts from ever happen again.  I learned a lot being in solitude.  There is something to be said about being alone.  There is some peace and serenity there that I never experienced when I was younger.  I learned to be happy by myself. 

I reflected on my role of the friendships ending. I took my responsibility in the outcomes.  In the one case, I had some amends to make.  It was a friendship that allowed me to be the worst version of myself.  The person was a bit older than me with more experience in life.  I was treated as a younger sibling and I definitely played the role well.  So early last week, I texted the person. I made my amends.  I took responsibility for my actions. I also stated how much I had healed and changed my ways.  I received a polite response back wishing me the best and that I am a wonderful person.  I know we will never be friends again, but to have closure in a positive way finally ended that phase of my life.  Then there is the second situation.

This situation was equally painful in a different way.  In this one, the person attacked me and my family. The pain was executing, because it was a life long friend of mine and my husband.  Someone I loved dearly for nearly 25 years.  It left us, as a couple, raw and wounded.  Although, I remain friends with his wife, a long time friend as well, it put a strain on all of us.  As much as she pleaded with him to make the situation right, he refused.  Eventually, my husband and I accepted what had happened.  We understood this friend was struggling with his own life battles and we just became one more in a line of people he had attacked verbally.  I forgave him in my own way even without his apology. 

In yesterday’s mail there was a small note card addressed to me.  It was a note from this friend. He stated in the season of Easter he had been reflecting on life.  He apologized for being wrong and what had happened.  It was shocking to me.  I was certain I would die without an apology.  My first reaction was not anger or apathy. It was one of forgiveness and compassion.  In my mind, I heard the words, I forgave you a long time ago. I will always love you and our friendship.  It was a moment of knowing for certain, I had reached my own peace.  I, later, sent a text to him reflecting those feelings.  I wished him the best and encouraged him to get the help he needed to be healthy and at peace in life. 

This was a huge life lesson that took me several years to master.  In the end, having these friends leave my life made way for friends that match my soul better.  I have learned to love and trust again.  I have attracted healthier relationship, because I am healthier as a result of losing such people I loved in my life,  It forced me to soul search. It forced me to find comfort in my own company.  It forced me to forgive what seemed impossible to forgive.  And once, I let go of the anger, it allowed me to find compassion for them.  For so long, I could not understand who would behave like that.  It came to me that those in such pain and suffering behave like that.  I needed to have compassion for them and realize the behaviors were not about me, I was just a receiver of such misery. 

So what does this mean for me today? I am celebrating miracles.  The miracle for forgiveness.  The miracle of never giving up on a person.  The miracle that I can heal myself from a life time of abuse, hurt and misery. I celebrate my new friends.  Those friendship are truly what I always longed for with those old friendship, but I could never achieve.  I celebrate finding the serenity of being along.  I like myself.  I am fun and kind to travel with on this journey. 

Mostly, I encourage others that need to forgive or make amends to do so.  Do not allow your ego to dominant your peace.  There is such happiness in the surrender. You never know, a miracle might be around the corner for you too!

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