Laura Haley-McNeil

2/25/18, Forgiveness

Hello, Everyone!

I hope the weather is lovely in your part of the world. In my fair state, it has snowed several times and temperatures have dipped to below zero. A lovely reminder that winter is still here. I have to remind myself that this will make spring more enjoyable. With spring come birthdays and baby showers in our family. Last year, we had several weddings in the family so now these newlyweds are expecting. I’ve been crocheting for years and have a stash of baby afghans, the only item I’ll crochet, and they’re all white, to give away. I’m looking forward to giving them as gifts. Babies always look so adorable wrapped in white.

With so much happening in the world, one word continually comes back to me—forgiveness. How do you find forgiveness in your heart when someone or something has caused you such pain? I don’t have an answer. Though there are people I wish I’d never met, I know the pain I’ve experienced through my contact with them has molded and shaped me. Not necessarily into a better person. Not necessarily into a stronger person, but has changed me nonetheless.

I have people in my life who can’t forget the wrongs someone has committed against them. They relive these wrongs as if they are experiencing them at that moment. I can’t blame them. I do the same thing, but what I do see is that reliving these wrongs feeds hatred and pain and that hurts ourselves, not the person who wronged us. How to get past that isn’t an easy process. Sometimes it takes help, even professional help. I only know that if we are to help ourselves, we need to move past the wrong that fills us with such grief and pain.

Recently, I spoke to someone who resented the way he was being treated by another individual. He related to me an incident, which he’s discussed with me several times before, and I could tell he was reliving that incident. This individual is very accomplished and intelligent, and though I’m not qualified to give professional advice, I asked this person why he let these debilitating thoughts enter his mind when he’d accomplished so many wonderful things that would be so much more enjoyable to think about? Again, I’m no better than he. In a weak moment, a wrong committed against me years ago will consume my thoughts and I’ll think of something I could’ve said or done to change the outcome, but too late now. Instead of feeling empowered, I can feel the weight of the wrong pressing down on me. I know my body is trying to respond, along with my mind, but it can accomplish nothing satisfying. Sometimes it’s like taking pliers but I have to pull these thoughts out of my mind and think of something that is beneficial and fulfilling even if I have to make it up. Recently, I came across a definition of forgiveness that resonated with me:

Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.

So easy to say. So difficult to put into practice. And that’s what it takes—practice. As you practice a sport or an instrument, you perform certain exercises that improve your ability. Forgiveness is the same way. It takes practice. Who wants to wish the offender well? I don’t, but I can feel the damage I’m doing to myself, and harboring hatred and rage isn’t worth that. It’s something I have to remind myself. Anger festers into something more malevolent. To take care of myself, I have to forgive—probably the most difficult task life has given us.

As a writer, forgiveness can make an interesting theme. So there is an opportunity to take something meant for evil and make it work for good.

If there is something in your life that is holding you back, I hope you can find a way past it. Sometimes it takes a source more powerful than ourselves to see and identify this need and then have the strength to put it in our past.

I wish you all the best in this coming week. I wish love and peace and very soon warm weather in your life. Have a wonderful week!