In order for forgiveness to happen, something has to die. If you make a choice to forgive, you have to face into the pain. You simply have to hurt. – Brene Brown
Thirty Days of Forgiveness, as explained by my post on Oct. 27th, is no longer a practice in identifying people to forgive (including myself). It is now a practice in asking and answering these questions:
- What must die in order for me to forgive Them + Me? Expectations? Victimhood? Dreams/demands? Blame? The way it is supposed to be? The need to be right? Awesome stories of how I was wronged? Awesome stories of how I screwed up?
- If to forgive is to love, am I ready to love Them + Me? I mean really, there are some people/things we have no interest in loving—ever! Am I right? You know I’m right. I know I’m right.
- What pain must I face in order for me to forgive Them + Me? I’m sure the first question will fill in that blank easily enough.
- Am I willing to write publicly about it?
What must die?
The concept of a failed marriage. All marriages that begin will end, either in death or in divorce. Once a marriage has begun, an ending is a certainty. Whether it’s five weeks or fifty years, all marriages end. Calling the end a failure implies that success would be marriage without end, which isn’t even possible.
Can I forgive?
Every time I married I did it for love, believing with all my heart that I was in love, and that love was enough. I didn’t know love wasn’t enough. I couldn’t have known. Even if someone had tried to tell me, I wouldn’t have believed it. I thought love was all I’d ever need. That was a lesson. I had to learn it multiple times. That’s not a failure; that’s a learning process. So, yes.
What pain must I face?
All relationships of emotional significance hurt. They were always destined to hurt at least some of the time. We can’t love someone or something without eventually experiencing pain. Some of that pain is the wear and tear of a relationship. Some of it is rooted in the very stuff we try to avoid (or escape) by being in love or being married. Everything that I did to avoid pain, rejection, abandonment, etc. was utterly futile, and a lot of those married years were squandered upon that futility, sacrificing and assassinating joy. I created a shit-ton of my own suffering. And I undoubtedly created suffering for others through my own folly.
Can I own this publicly?