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The idea of forgiveness is so simple, but so complicated. It doesn't mean that what happened wasn't wrong, wasn't hurtful, shameful, painful, devastating. It doesn't mean the person who wronged you is absolved and free of guilt. It doesn't erase what happened.
What it does is free the forgiver of the weight that they carry. Frees them of the anger, and pain, and anguish that they hold within while withholding forgiveness.
Perhaps this is why it's so hard for us to forgive. We seem always to equate forgiveness with wiping the slate clean-- and in many instances it IS that. For small things, people that we love and care about on a daily basis... we forgive things and then it's almost as if they haven't happened (mostly.) But for bigger things, for life-damaging things, for abuse, for negligence, for the things that wound us to our souls-- forgiving does not mean what happened is erased. It means that I no longer hold onto the anger I have towards my aggressor. It means that I no longer allow him to have a place in my heart. I no longer allow him to have hold in my mind. It means that I free myself, and him, from the place of anger and pain I have held him for so long. It means that I turn over his punishment, his ultimate judgement to the One who is truly equipped to do so.
I am not ready to do this. Not with him. Not yet.
With today's letter though, I forgive my mother. The adopted one. The one who should have seen what happened, should have seen the changes in me. The mother who was too preoccupied with her own emotional issues to see that I was not the same girl she once knew. The mother who was protective to a fault, and so strict and critical that it was hard for me to find my own voice until shortly before her death. I forgive her for all of that, and for leaving this earth just as we started to mend our relationship. I forgive all the things that shouldn't need forgiveness, but that I have held in anger, or pain, or sadness throughout our lives together. I forgive her because I know that she did the best she could. Because I know that in her way she loved me more than life itself. Because I know that no one is perfect. Because I know that if she had it to do over again, I know she would choose differently, react differently, love differently.
Dear Mom. I miss you, I love you... I forgive you.
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