Forgiveness

I’ve been procrastinating on writing this post.  I’m a very forgiving person; I believe that there are few things in life that are unforgiveable.  We are all so human and so flawed; we all hurt, we all hurt others.  We often don’t mean to; sometimes we do, but even that I have found to be rare.  I don’t tend to keep people in my life who intentionally cause me or others pain.  Well, not in the last ten years or so, anyway.  For most of my life, I’ve been drawn to people who betray, who leave, who crush your heart under their heel and walk away.

The reason for that didn’t become clear to me until I was well into my thirties, and then it hit me like a brick.  When you grow up with a parent who continually lies to you, disappoints you, betrays you and your mother, belittles you, deliberately does things that could cause great harm to you and your siblings, and then walks away from the wreckage leaving you to pick yourself up and carry on, it’s what you know.  You have this great, aching emptiness inside that you try to fill up with so many different things, and a lot of them just continue the damage.  You don’t know for a LONG time (and some people I think never realize it) that there is always going to be a part of your heart that aches for the father you never had, and never will have.  There is no filling that up, with anything.  But you try, and the damage spreads out over the years.  I was lucky; I had a major car accident, one of those things that forces you (if you’re lucky) to look at your life, how you’re living it, what you’re doing that’s not working.  I healed myself, mostly.  It took a long, long time.

I’ve tried to forgive my father.  Most days I think that I have, but even though he’s been dead going on two or three years, the trail of lies that he fed everyone he ever knew keeps rearing it’s ugly head and spreading more hurt.  He’s dead but it’s like he’s still here, spewing his poison.  So it’s hard to feel like I’ve really forgiven him for all the years and the lies and the wake of ugly he left that we have to keep dealing with.

The latest thing was finding out that my half brother, who he raised as his son, isn’t his son.  And of course my poor half brother who’s not my half brother found this out, finally, after my dad isn’t around to confront any longer.  His dad…he was never dad to me, he was my biological father.  That’s the only dad my half brother ever knew, though.  If there was anything good that my father ever did in his life, it was sticking around and raising him, and doing all the things he never did with us or for us.  He was a TOTALLY different man to my half brother, and I was always glad about that.  Like…at least he has a heart, even if he never showed it to us…his other four children.

But I always wondered about my half brother, because he SO MUCH doesn’t look like any of us, or like my father.  At all.  Not one feature.  So to find out last week from my brother that half brother’s stepdad had finally told him the truth, that my father was not his father, that his father was someone who didn’t want to have anything to do with him when he was born, was not that big a surprise to me.  It just makes me angry because now there’s one more person that has to deal with the hurt and pain of that kind of betrayal.  Yeah, he fathered him, but he wasn’t his father, and everyone knew it but him.

So yeah…still working on that forgiveness thing with my father.  Feels silly almost, because he’s dead.  But God…he did so much to try and destroy us.

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About Kat1124

Wife, mother, avid career woman, college student, voracious reader of books and blogs, music lover, weather geek.
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7 Responses to Forgiveness

  1. Yikes. So sorry. I believe true forgiveness for the most heinous of hurts is only possible when we really get how much Jesus has forgiven us for. Which means admitting deep down how self-centered and depraved we are. Which is tough. Corrie Ten Boom is a good one to read about the topic of forgiveness.

  2. Pam says:

    I think you’re further along in the process than you give yourself credit for. You recognized that although your dad didn’t do right by you and your family, he did for your half-brother. Being able to see that and be happy for your half-brother is seeing the true act not through anger or hurt.

    Time heals all wounds, but we always remember the pain of the bandaid being ripped off. xo

  3. Pam, that’s exactly it. And sometimes the bandaid gets ripped off all over again, when some new hurt comes to light.

  4. Charlie says:

    Sorry you had to endure that. Forgiveness, I have found, is something I must practice if I am to free myself from resentment, NOT to absolve others from responsibility. The jailer, I remind myself, is also in jail.

    For my 2¢, sounds like you’re on a constructive & healing path.

  5. forgiveness is something that comes around in my life often, as there are a few people who have left dark imprints and i’m working hard (okay, that’s a lie, i’m only half-heartedly working) to forgive them.

    it seems like you are well on your way to forgiving you father. sometimes, we just have to forgive people who totally don’t deserve it and find peace with it.

  6. Jane says:

    Hi Kat, I have a different take on forgiveness–one shared by Alice Miller. I don’t believe you have to forgive to heal. I think if the hurts are deep and there’s no resolution from the other person (which there can’t be if they’re dead) then perhaps it is enough to understand that their effed-upness is not ours, and to know that given our experiences, we will not be like they are.

    I wrote this article a few years back if you’re ever interested in reading it — http://janedevin.com/2007/04/24/the-forgiveness-trap/

    I’m 48. I cannot forgive my parents for what they did because it was brutal, intentional, and the effects have been lifelong. I can and do forgive myself for ever thinking I deserved to be treated like that.

    • Jane, thank you so much for your comment and the link. Lots to think about there.

      I cut my father out of my life years before he died. I tried, so many times, to have a relationship with him, and finally realized that the damage was not justified. He would never change, and so I gave up. I felt vaguely guilty when he died, because I didn’t feel anything. I realized he’d been dead to me for a long time, and it wasn’t me who had caused that. I sat at his funeral with my sister and brother, listening to the minister drone on about the kind of man he was, and thought “Well, I didn’t even know that guy and I don’t think the minister did, either.” I think my stepmother actually asked him to say a bunch of nice, totally untrue things about him, which is really sad.

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