Forgiveness is a wonderful, beautiful, and overwhelming thing. It feels like a giant weight on your shoulders has been lifted. Why, when it comes to others, are we so slow to forgive, and so quick to anger and resentment, knowing it eventually leads to bitterness? Maybe it’s pride, maybe we’re waiting on the other person to say “I’m sorry” first. Haven’t we all discovered that this bitterness only eats at our own selves, and doesn’t affect the object of our hurt and anger one iota? That heavy weight on our backs just digs deeper into us and physically wears us down.
Often, the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. We know our own motives, our own thoughts, our own skeletons and where we’ve hidden them. And it isn’t pretty. We go about life feeling like an impostor, painting a portrait of confidence on the outside, but feeling like this house of cards is going to collapse at any minute on the inside. When we can’t forgive ourselves, it’s difficult to forgive anyone else. Even more impossible is the idea that we can be forgiven and loved.
Life is a messy, crazy, yet incredible journey. Because there are people in this life with us, there will always be hurdles. I’ve been so blessed to see my own dad restore his relationship with his father after a period of over 15 years of silence. My dad, my mom, and I just went to visit my grandfather in October, and it was the first time my mom had ever met him. It was a perfect visit. All of the life that passed during that period of silence was suddenly irrelevant in comparison to the new memories we made. I’ve been privileged to bear witness to even more lives of loved ones healed by the power of forgiveness.
Plagued by self-imposed guilt
and rattled by the fear of discovery
Living each day as a desperate race
to outrun the past
and the weight of memory.
Like water spilled onto thirsty ground,
life cannot be undone.
After years of deafening silence,
a still small voice interrupts
like a tiny shaft of light
cutting through the dark, oppressive night.
With a pounding heart
and cautious hope,
Forgiveness is found waiting on the other side
smiling, with arms extended.