Friday, July 07, 2006

There is Only One Person To Forgive

So last year when I was preparing for my 40th birthday and a new decade, my wise friend, Bozenka suggested that I make a list of all the offenses that I hold and forgive them and let them go. She made sure I included myself. I made lists and burned candles and meditated and prayed and forgave. But the lesson was germinating yet in me. The ones I had the hardest forgiving were those people who had hurt my children. Like the couple who wouldn't let their daughter who was Erin's best friend, play with her after Phil and I separated because they didn't approve. Erin was devastated and as they were apart of our homeschooling group and in the same dance classes and choir, etc., Erin became very isolated and sad. I had the hardest time forgiving them. My wise friend pointed out to me that it was because I couldn't forgive myself... Although intellectually I could accept this (kind of) I didn't really understand it or feel it all the way through.

This year, just before my birthday, I had a jarring experience with my dad and one of my sisters who is going through a difficult time. She had arranged to come and visit it me on her trip. But her trip has been pretty....eventful, shall we say. She was calling me often and asking for my support as she was going through all these things. Despite changes she was still planning on coming to see me and I was really looking forward to it - to seeing her, to hugging her and pampering her and letting her have a little, loving break from all the chaos and judgement in her world. But my dad didn't want her to visit me and so pressured her and pressured her until he had her convinced that visiting me was a mistake because I am no longer a mormon and that I would pressure her to also leave the church (or stay away would be more accurate). And so cancelled her visit with me. Along with feeling sad/disappointed/hurt/misunderstood about that, it also affected Kaetlyn who was visiting and who had cancelled her flight home so she could drive home with my sister. And no one even told Kaetlyn about the change of plans but she overheard others talking about it and called me, whispering into the phone at 11:30pm. Luckily her dad was able to re-book her flight and she will be home tomorrow evening as planned (Yay!)

I was very upset. Upset that my 15 year old daughter was there and I was not even trusted to have my 27 year old sister for a visit. Upset that she let others convince her of what I am like when she knows differently (because I don't care whether she is a mormon or not, married to a controlling jerk or not, I just care that she is my sister and I love her and she knows that). Upset to be so judged. Upset to see such a negative view of myself reflected from my own father. And hurt. So, on the eve of my birthday, I was again making a list of forgiveness. This time I started with myself. And the list was long. And then I started on my dad but the list petered out. And I never got to anyone else. This morning when I woke up and resumed my journal working, I finally realized the lesson of this year. There is only one person to forgive. Me. When I forgive myself, everything else just slips away. Now irrelevant. Just like with the parents of Erin's former best friend. I was able to forgive them when I was finally able to forgive myself for the breakdown of my marriage and how that affected my children. When I forgive myself and love myself, my father's opinion of me doesn't matter. It is about him, not me. Just as my judgements of others are really about myself.

So my year of being '40' is over and the lesson has really sunk in. I get it - all the way through. There is only one person to forgive. Ever. Just myself. And I do. Today, I fogive myself. One day, maybe I won't even judge myself and then there won't even be anything left to forgive...

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