Forgiveness (Part 3)

Faith has always been a big part of my life.  My family is rooted in Catholicism.  However, my aunt would take me to Charismatic-Catholic conferences and introduced me to spirit-filled services… speaking in tongues.  Raising our hands in worship.  Experiences that were not regularly part of a traditional Mass.

At the age of 13, I met my high-school-sweetheart (well, almost since we were in middle school).  He introduced me to the Pentecostal church. At the time (mid-90’s), they were talking about Revival.  We would stay up late reading the bible and attend church almost every day.   Services were filled with words like “repent”, “sacrifice”, and “forgive”.

“YES!” I thought, I was ready to repent & sacrifice!  I brought all my tapes (yes, cassette tapes) to the alter.  I just knew that if I gave up secular music and media, I would be that much closer to God…. to fulfillment.  *Queue the dramatic effects* In fact, this started what I call my “5-year hiatus”.  Until now, there are songs, shows, and movies I’ve never heard of.  In my mind, I “sacrificed” through the age of boy-bands, Team Britney or Team Christina… and so much more.  But, during that time, I didn’t feel happy.  It’s been more than 20 years since…. in retrospect, I was more judgmental than ever.

Internally, I demanded others to follow suit.  And if they didn’t, I wanted no parts.  Obviously, that caused many broken bridges.  But, in my mind those who didn’t change were at fault… not me!  Never me!

These petty offerings placed at the alter 5 years prior brought me towards anger, resentment, and hatred towards those who did not do the same!  ….For goodness sake, it was just music!

CMB

Well, yeah maybe I shouldn’t have been listening to this LOL

After my “hiatus”, I took a good look at myself…..  it was VERY sobering… my first husband and I divorced and he moved back to our hometown (across the country).  I was left alone with 2 children… and everything was a whirlwind.  I blamed him so much for leaving us!  Not only did he leave me… he stopped communicating with the children.  All 3 of us were left traumatized..

So, here is my past post on forgiveness… in that post, I mentioned 3 questions I wrote down, answering the first one here

But, my 2nd question was:

  • How do I know if it’s a person or circumstance (or even multiple people) I need to forgive?

In this scenario (my first divorce), I wasn’t looking for a “sorry.”  I was the one who initiated it, so I felt like I got what I deserved.  But, I was still angry.  I knew it wasn’t healthy to live with the anger… but how else could I feel?

As years passed, I couldn’t pin-point who I was angry at…. was it anyone at all?  Again, it was a chain of events set-off by my own choices… was it my circumstance?

So, I tucked that bit of anger in my back-pocket and carried it along with me from relationship to relationship….and over time, little hurts accumulated until my “pocket-sized anger” outgrew my pants!

Now, present-day…. different divorce, different scenario…. but, it’s FINALLY time to cleanse myself of the anger and pain that I most-likely initiated years-ago on my own!

Do I really need to look externally to forgive?  Not always.  I may be dealing with extreme hurt from my recent divorce.  But, it might have been our own set of misdealings (separate and together, before and/or during our marriage) that lead us to the separation.  Not just him… and not just me.

In this case, I need to forgive all of the above:

A person = me.

Multiple people = us.

Circumstances = the divorce.

 

 

Forgiveness (Part 2)

I have been doing a lot of self-work since my divorce.  It’s been almost 2 years and by now, you’d think I’d be over it, right?  At least that is what I expected of myself.  I’ve always considered myself strong & resilient….

 

Tattoo

My tattoo showing the word “Lakas” meaning Strength in Filipino (Tagalog).

You know the phrase, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”?

I remember early after my divorce, I would sit in the dark, crying to God…. “I’m not that strong!” “You test the strong ones, I’m not the one!”  And I would lay there, weeping, pleading for the pain to stop….

Not only did my husband leave me.  He barred me from living close to the support I needed. (here is my past post when I was diagnosed with epilepsy and unable to drive). 

But, as I started to live with the pain and carry-on with the pain… the pain became my strength and my reason for many decisions.  Some terrible decisions, but also some great decisions (more on that later).

Now back to my previous post on forgiveness…. why am I even pushing myself through this process?  Well, a new man has come into my life.  He is incredible.  I don’t know where this relationship will go or how long it will last, but I am SO happy with him.  Currently, I feel like I still have a wall up…. and I’ve learned that wall was built by the pain and hurt of my divorce.

How do I let go of the pain?

This channel and video by Master Sri Akarshana was perfect for me about Letting Go

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCcX2IDoIjU

I’ve watched videos, listened to podcasts, read books, prayed, meditated ….. anything and everything to find an answer…. and many sources point to “forgiveness”

In my previous post, I mentioned 3 questions I wrote in my journal about forgiveness… the first one was: How do I forgive someone who is not sorry?

So, I took a week to think about this….. as a parent, when one brother got hurt by the other, I would sit down and go, “ok son, say you’re sorry”… the culprit would huff and puff then say “I’m sorry” under his breath…. then it would take twice as much effort for the hurt one to say “I forgive you”.  Sometimes I would have to sternly instruct my son, “say, ‘I forgive you’!”  Because I knew in my head that if you say out loud “I forgive you” the heart would somehow start that process…..  In that very real example, we already knew the “offender” may not have been sorry at all but was merely instructed to say “I’m sorry”…. so whether he said it or not wasn’t the point…. my goal as a parent, was to get the hurt son to forgive so he can move on (with or without his brother) and get back to having a good day.

Now, I am neither a boy nor a child.  I’m a 40-ish year-old woman with baggage, who is a Cancer.  And I’m a highly emotional being.

My ex-husband did say he was sorry…. “sorry it didn’t work out” (insert eye-roll here).  To me, that was not the sorry I needed.  I wanted him to say sorry for what he put me through.  Sorry that he took away the future I thought we would have together  ……OR, maybe the “sorry” I wanted was not really that… what my heart wanted was “I wanted us to work out” “I really did love you”…

And, let’s say, if he even did offer those words, what would it have lead to?  A conversation, an understanding, maybe my heart would open again, definitely the hurt would open… and the agonizing cycle would continue…

So, how do I forgive someone who is not sorry?  OR, better yet….. did not say the sorry that I wanted?

I feel like sorry isn’t what is needed anymore.  Like I said in my example as a parent, whether he said sorry or not is not the point…. I need to forgive so I can go on and live my life.  Maybe….. open my heart back up (carefully) so I can REALLY appreciate the amazing guy that WAS brought into my life.  Who’s birthday, by the way, is today 🙂