I Do Not Think That Means What You Think It Means.

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If you’re saying “it’s too soon to forgive” in a relationship – friendship, family, marital – that’s pride speaking.  “Too soon” implies you’ll do it when you’re damned good and ready.  “Cant” or “won’t” is at least more honest.

Forgiveness isn’t a favor you grant someone from your lofty moral height, after punishing them by withholding it first.  It’s not about waiting for the other person to make the first move.  Forgiveness isn’t about blame, and it isn’t about forgetting the past, and it’s not about letting people continue to harm you.  Forgiveness is taking a breath and looking for the love beneath the anger.  It’s finding a way to express that love in spite of the anger – even if it is accompanied by a necessary “goodbye”.

When it comes to forgiveness, there is no “too soon.” There is Today, and Too Late.  Be sure, if you choose to say “too soon”, that you can live with what’s left unsaid if Too Late locks the door while you’re waiting for the “right” time.

 

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2 responses »

  1. I’m going to have to disagree with you slightly here. Not because you’re wrong, but because there isn’t a singular path here and things are subject to context.

    Sometimes it is “too soon” and it isn’t about good and ready as much as the wound is too raw and obscures all vision. Been there. Done that. And rather than say or do something I will regret, I hit the pause button. And if you still have to hit that button for stillness, it can be too soon. That’s a galactic shift. And yeah, you can lose while you’re waiting, but that’s a maybe as opposed to a definite if your responses are all going to be the equivalent of “f#ck you”. Context matters.

    Secondly, there are the unforgivables. I received an email from a former friend the day before Lisa’s wake. It was the most narcissistic thing I have ever read as EVERY comment was about him. And not about his feelings about Lisa, but about the thing that ended our friendship. She wasn’t even mentioned. She didn’t matter. But he made sure to say he was “Sorry” immediately followed by the words “but I’m not going to let you off the hook” pretty much negating the apology. During the WORST week of my life, and let’s make that crystal clear, I was going to be burying the love of my life that weekend, this was the WORST week of my life and all he could do is talk about himself and the end of our friendship. I’m just a man. And like all men, I have my limits. This behavior far exceeded them. It would exceed the limits of most people. I cannot forgive him. This behavior broke my ability to do that with him. CRUSHED IT. In public forums he continues to make passive aggressive asides and attempt to diminish me (and some cases Lisa). I don’t have that kind of strength to forgive him.

    I am not ashamed of this. Sometimes the best thing you can do is know your limits. This is beyond mine.

    My point being, that if you’re being purely linear, as you describe, it’s the best way to be. And it is our responsibility to do the best we can in that vein.

    My point is that, as with all things, circumstance may preclude and your mileage may vary.

    And you know what’s funny? Strange. Not Ha-Ha.

    I found reserves of strength I didn’t know I had in those days and the days to come. I am proud of myself and the progress I have made toward finding myself and forging my new normal. It is a continued work in progress, but I am doing the work. And as per my therapist, he’s not part of my work. Forgiveness is neither required or needed.

    Mind you there are people I *DO* need to forgive for one reason or another. This guy ain’t on that list.

    Sorry for the hijack. It’s a beautiful idea, but I’m not sure it can be universally applied.

    I do love the fact that you can express it though. That says wonderful things about you.

  2. Oh, it’s not a “one size fits all” thing, that’s for sure. There are people who I still CANT forgive – and am working on that. Hard. To me, there is a difference between “I can’t forgive you yet” and “it’s too soon.” One is about where I am on the journey toward forgiveness, and the other is more about sitting down in the middle of the sidewalk and saying “Idawanna.”

    No need to apologize – I don’t see it as a hijack, but a welcome conversation.

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