Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What is the Definition of Forgiveness?

As I was driving to the gym yesterday I was mulling over this post in my head.  I knew that I needed to continue with the writing exercise that is the Thirty Days of Truth.  This being post four (am sloth-like in this practice!) it's all about forgiveness.  The forgiving of someone else, that is.  I feel like the Church Lady should be sitting next to me preaching right about now. 

I thought and thought.  And thought.  Do I forgive the man who tried to wrench me out of a drugstore at age eight and throw me in his car with the promise of toys?  I just can't go there.  Why forgive a stranger who wanted to instill nothing but harm my way?  I feel nothing but relief over that whole ordeal.  Relief that it didn't happen and thankfulness that my mother saved the day.  I can't forgive someone who has made me so paranoid about my children's own personal safety that when they are out of my sight for a mere millisecond I go nuts more so than the average mother.  Some things just never get fixed.  I am OK with that too.

I suppose I could practice the art of forgiveness (it is an art to some degree) on forgiving the person who put me through my own personal war zone and into group therapy sessions at the local domestic violence group when I was a teen. Except, I'm OK with the fact that long ago I let go of the anger I had towards him for messing me up so much.  Beyond the scrapes and hidden bruises that healed so fast were the scars and  wounds that his mental, physical and emotional abuse left behind.  I simply let it go after so much personal work and time. Like four years plus but it did make me stronger. It made me a Fighter. It made me realize that I'm not weak and incapable of things and I don't need to sleep with boxes in front of my bedroom door or believe I can't even pump my own gas.  Nope.  That anger, that abuse, made me harder in some ways but capable to handle other hills that arose in my life.  When shit went down I would think back and say to myself, "Dude, you went through so much worse.  This?  This is nothing." It was a long journey but I'm actually thankful for it in the end.  Not the abuse, but the other side I came out on and who I became after I let go of all that anger. 

Is that the definition of forgiveness? Letting go of the anger and resentment?  The fear and pain?  Can it ever really be forgiven when there are side effects and PTSD-like symptoms that still occur after all these years?  I don't know. Does anyone? 

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