I don’t see Forgiveness as black and white.
I see it in shades of gray ranging from simple, peaceful silver to intense, inky charcoal.
I don’t see Forgiveness as saying it is okay that you did what you did to me.
I see it as letting go of what happened to me, as no longer letting the hurt you caused cast its cage over me one more day.
Sometimes Forgiveness washes me clean in an instant, clinging to my fingertips with the cool, blue-gray hope of an early evening sky telling me that tomorrow will be new. That we can move forward together again, leaving the past behind us.
Sometimes, when I try to force it, Forgiveness turns its back on me, disagrees. Insists it isn’t ready for me. So I wait.
Sometimes Forgiveness is ready, but I’m too weary to recognize it. So it waits, patiently, until it catches my eye, telling me kindly that it is time.
Then, finally, there are the times when Forgiveness has to simply take control of the situation, because I just don’t know how or where to start.
This is how the biggest Forgiveness in my life happened.
I don’t know when I forgave him. I can’t point to a calendar and say that’s the day I moved on.
But suddenly, quietly, I could see that the worst that had happened, the thing that altered me for bad, also altered me for good. I could feel it.
I could be more rational about what happened. It didn’t dull my life with its heavy shadow anymore, weighing me down with resentment. Caging me within thick iron bars of anger.
I was still aware of the shadow of the past, the one that would always be there, but my new light faded it to almost nothing. I shined so brightly that it hid from me. One day I looked around, and it was hard to find. All I could see was a calm acceptance in my heart, lighting the way forward.
Which is how I knew that even without ever trying, I forgave him.
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This post was written for The Red Dress Club Memoir writing prompt.
The prompt went like this:
This week’s prompt is about forgiveness. Forgiving others, forgiving yourself. Write about a time of forgiveness.
It struck me when I read this that I honestly don’t know when I forgave the person who did me the most wrong in my life. It just happened, organically. Which got me thinking to how I define Forgiveness. And there you have it.