Its something I never fully understood. I had been wronged so many times and starting at such a young age, forgiveness seemed like a pipe dream. And yet its something we, as a society, talk about constantly.
When two kids fight in a school yard, what do we do? We stop them, tell them it doesn’t matter who started it, then tell them to apologize. They pretend to accept it. But do they really?
What great story doesn’t have some sort of revenge or betrayal? Some even have redemption and forgiveness! But do we completely understand it? How many families are broken up because of it?
I think I blogged about this before, but whatever. 😀
So this morning I woke up in a peaceful mood. Last night we had the tea ceremony in our kung fu school and welcomed four new Si Hings and one new Si Jiehs into our school. Those are “older brothers” and “older sisters” in English although I’m sure we butchered the plural… Actually I don’t think there aren’t plural versions so it should be Si Hing and Si Jieh.
It was heartwarming. These individuals have been members of our school and our lives for years and they really are family… And now they are officially. This also makes them assistant instructors in our school.
So this morning I woke up happy. Then my doorbell rang and I brightened up even more. Ethan was home for the morning. And I had to talk to his dad.
Last week I had unexpectedly ran into one of the exes that my ex had gotten into a relationship with during our separation. This was about five years ago. She told me that she wanted to apologize for any grief she may have caused back then. I told her that I forgave her (and I really did! Forgiveness 1 – Condemnation 0 !) and found out through conversation that she had no place to go and was alone. I let her spend the night at my place, then took her to a friend’s in the morning. When I saw my ex next I told him about this and it brought up conversation about what happened when our marriage fell apart. I listened mostly and rolled my eyes here and there. See, we had talked about this stuff many many times. It ends with him saying he’s sorry and me thinking he’s not sincere. As I was listening to him, I realized that I still had not forgiven him.
And why should I? Who would? Most people would never. As romanticized as “forgive and forget” is, who really does it? I don’t think many do. I think many people hold on to their disappointments as a way of protecting themselves from getting hurt again. But forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to open yourself up to be hurt by them again. It means that you understand that we’re all messed up in one way or another. We’ve all hurt people voluntarily and involuntarily at some point. No one is perfect and neither of us is better than the other so neither of us can judge and condemn someone else for their mistakes, especially when they continuously apologize for them and you can tell that those mistakes are weighing heavily on them.
So I thought about it for a few days and when I saw him I told him. “I know you carry a lot of guilt for what happened back then… And I want you to know that I forgive you.”
It felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. A weight I didn’t realize was there. This forgiveness thing? Is pretty awesome.