My Aha Moment on Forgiveness

Parenting is the most important job in the world.  I know this for sure.  It is difficult and rewarding. There are things we say or actions we don't even think twice about that our children store in their minds for a lifetime. These very things shape them.

I can't remember how old I was but I do know it was at an age where I was comprehending things and seeing life for what it was just a little bit more.  It was definitely after the days of Santa Claus but still before the days of "wait, you mean I gotta figure this all out on my own one day?" and panic setting in.  I was in the happy medium state of still living at home where Mommy and Daddy took care of everything and my biggest decision was what to wear or what book to read that day.

I remember this day so clearly.  We had unexpected visitors stop by and my parents rolled out the red carpet as always.  We kids let the parents reminisce about the old days and us kids talked about what kids talked about.  My childhood home has a long driveway and we all walked outside to see our guests off after several hours of visiting and a huge meal was served.  As the car drove off, I heard one of my parents say, "I can't believe he stole my car," to which my other parents replied with a laugh, "Yes, remember that?"

Now I could be wrong and maybe I'm giving you a Brian Williams version of events but this is how I remember it.  Maybe it was a house or something else but bottom line is the people my parents rolled the red carpet out for had stolen something from them once upon a time.

My parents reaction not only blew me away but stayed with me and is engraved somewhere in my brain and heart.

We went back inside and they went back to whatever they were doing before our visitors came.  They never spoke of this again and I wasn't the kind of kid that had to know the WHY. I was cool with whatever information was presented to me. I liked to stay inside the lines and felt no need to color outside them.

I have lived long enough to know that this very scenario played out elsewhere would have parents going in detail about the wrongdoing for months, years and even have the child carry this on so that the child now takes on the issue and feels it so personally that they begin to believe that this stolen thing was directly stolen from them.

Or some parents would have never even let the people in their house in the first place.

I have people tell me all the time how they can't believe how civil I am towards my ex-husband.  They say they admire my zen like position towards the whole "we were together for 15 years and now we are not but have 2 amazing boys whose biggest cheerleaders we are so no matter how bad things get, we'll always have to get along buddy" thing.

Shrugs.

I tell them that yes it's been a process, but I decided many years ago after seeing my parents reaction to their thief-friend that I would never ever let bitterness consume me and forgiveness was the way for me to go.

This point was further sealed as I watched my girls Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte on the big screen back in 2008.  I, like many girls had watched the Sex and The City series faithfully for years and were excited to be thrown a life boat so we could catch up with our favorite girls.  I couldn't wait to catch up on what the girls had been up to and had no idea that God would speak to me right there in the movie theater.

Yes, God.  He spoke.

I receive many lessons from the Bible but let me tell you, when I see them in action in real life my entire core is shook in the best way possible and I live for these moments.

We know the story, our girl Carrie is dumped or maybe not dumped by Big at the altar since he comes to his senses and turns around.  Carrie is already embarrassed and gives him a beat down with her bouquet.  Big's cold feet moment stems from Carrie making the wedding about the wedding and not about Big but Miranda seals the deal when at the rehearsal dinner she gives Big a glimpse into real life marriage and not the fairy tale everyone thinks it is while she deals with her own issues because her husband Steve cheated.

Cut to Miranda finally admitting her role in the wedding that never was as Carrie and Miranda have Valentine's Day dinner in an overly Valentine's Day decorated restaurant. Carrie is fuming because how could her friend watch her analyze every detail leading to the wedding that never was for months in agony and not say anything.  Carrie refuses to take Miranda's calls for 3 days after that.

Miranda finally gets Carrie to talk to her in a cab outside her apartment.  Miranda begs for Carrie's forgiveness once again and this is their dialogue:

Carrie: You badger me to forgive you in 3 days and you won't even consider forgiving Steve for something he did 6 months ago!
Miranda: It's not the same thing.

This is where God shows up for me:

Carrie: IT'S FORGIVENESS.

I heard those 2 words so loud and clear in that movie theater.

It's forgiveness.

What happens to us all is that we tend to put forgiveness into compartments that only fit our lives in the way we want them to.  We can forgive someone for being an hour late to something but refuse to forgive someone who didn't ask us to the 4th grade dance.  Forgiveness becomes tricky when it comes to matters of the heart.  We find it hardest to forgive when our heart has been hurt.

Don't mistake it, I have had my moments.

There is nothing worse than being vulnerable and giving your all to someone and they either not reciprocate or use your vulnerability against you.  And then there's that special group of specimens who go out of their way to do things that they know will annoy you and make life for you even worse and thrive off of it.1

Forgiveness becomes tricky.

You become bitter.

Bitterness, although sometimes valid, should never ever consume you.  It takes away time you will never get back and most times its occupying your thoughts and quality of life while the person you are bitter with is living and thriving and not giving one thought to you.  How much sense does that make?

Yes it is easier to forgive that crazy person who saw you waiting for an open parking spot for 5 minutes but speeds into it anyway than it is to forgive your spouse for cheating on you.  It is easier to forgive your girl for getting that cute guy's number 2 seconds before you worked up your nerve to get it then it is to forgive your father for never showing up in your life.

Situations will always be different, some minor and some major, but forgiveness is forgiveness.

I went through a period after my divorce where bitterness consumed me and my heart was unwilling to forgive. I was angry that my core had been shook in the worst way and my stability was no more.  And yes I had moments of "you don't want to be with ME? Are you crazy? ME?" The good news is that I didn't stay in this place for long.

I learned to refocus, reevaluate and restart.  That's what gets you through.  You have to decide not to stay in this dark place and find something new to focus on.  Use this time for self discovery and remembering what makes you happy.  You have to find things you are comfortable doing alone.  You alone have to be the first source of your happiness.  Once you do that, you find that things of the past hardly matter anymore.  You begin anew and fall in love with yourself. Everything falls into place after that.

Somewhere along the way I remembered that day watching my parents laugh over something so major and my heart smiled because I knew that I too would look back at this crazy time and laugh as well.

You know what?

I did.







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