I have to make sure I don’t become a vengeful spirit hell bent on destruction and revenge on those who have caused me immense suffering. Forgiveness is not easy. Some things are unforgivable, are they not? There are some people who are unforgivable, who deserve all the hatred and the punishment that the world can heap on them. This has to be true even if it is reserved for the Big Bads: people like Hitler, Stalin, mass murderers, but is it really only the Big Bads which are unforgiveable?
I have struggled with forgiving people who have caused me immense damage, and those people are not only the man I married, but those who raised me as a child. I kept a kernel of hatred burning for them, as I cut them out my life, they were still present in my heart which kept the anger inside it, and let me give them way too much headspace. I forgive them. I no longer want to nurture my fury and my fear and my anger and my lack of forgiveness.
I have never hurt a soul physically in my life. It is almost impossible I think, not to hurt someone emotionally. I need forgiveness too, albeit on a smaller scale. But how can I expect to receive what I cannot give myself to others?
There are some lesser demons who have not caused destruction on such huge levels, yet have caused immense suffering on a smaller scale, dropping life-bombs and death, fear and hatred, suffering and violence into the lives of others they impact around them. My husband is one of those people. He wrought utter destruction on me and our children. Total devastation. I have never recovered from it. I never will. Yet I think I am too tired to use up my precious energy on hatred. I never want to see him again, but if I forgive him, then he uses up less of what I have left to fuel the shreds of my happiness. What he did to me was beyond wrong. He needed to go to jail for a lot longer time. He is not sorry and he does not even see it as wrong. I pity his uselessness. I pity him because his soul is rotten. What is the use in wasting my everything giving him more than a moment’s passing thought. I never want to see him again, but I also have no desire to waste my time burning up with all that anger and hatred that I have inside. I have to let it go.
Murderers, rapists, all kinds of bad people are forgiven by the ‘justice system’, supposedly paid their dues to society. I do not see how this can be. How can anyone ‘pay’ for a life? How can anyone ‘pay’ for torturing another human being? What price is there upon a single soul taken out of this world violently, by murder? What price in years pays for abuse or rape? How can anyone walk free after doing such things? Is forgiveness really that strong? Should we forgive as a society? Should we forgive as individuals? Should we ever say that enough has been paid? My heart says no. No forgiveness. Hold that hatred tightly and never let it go. Perhaps as an individual, a stronger part of me says I have the power to forgive those that have hurt me. It is not easy. It is a rare and difficult thing, but forgiveness is how you remove the power of evil.
So I have been practicing meditating on forgiveness for those who have hurt me. It doesn’t mean hurting me, torturing me, abusing me, ruining my whole life, and all that bad stuff was ok. It does not lessen the pain I suffered or the horror I went through. It does not mean that it is ok now. It is not. It merely means my forgiveness has removed their ability to continue to hurt me. It doesn’t mean they paid – there is no price on the suffering that I have endured. However not forgiving them is giving them power over me. Not forgiving is making me unwell. I need to take my power back. I need to learn how to forgive.
I am no saint, and I will admit that freely and fast. I have many terrible faults, but violence is not one of them. I am a terrible seeker of comfort and escape. I like to waste time and distract myself with various chemical comforts, always have done, and so these days of having to take something which is not a comfort but rocket fuel to my suffering and yes, also a great beauty and inspiration, are somewhat amusing to me. Nowadays I am in comparison a perfect angel in this regard. I simply don’t let myself do this. I haven’t touched a drink in years. Why couldn’t the way to control this horrible disease that I am trying to keep under control, be a half gallon of good brandy every week? Hah! I am not that lucky. I used to like slipping into that space between skin and soul and getting close to others, but not now, not for a long time. No. Not me.
I am not ‘good’, though I have stood steadfast next to my Boy. I didn’t bail. One of my good points, is that I don’t run away alone, I take those that love me with me and the fact remains I have never sought to harm the man I married and who beat and raped and hurt me so mercilessly for years and took so very much away from me. You don’t have to take revenge on people and forgiveness is possible. Forgiveness is taking away the power of those that hurt you. It is stealing their energy. It drains them and makes you stronger. Forgiveness of suffering, and suffering itself is the battery of human growth.
Forgiveness is possible even if it hurts like hell itself. We all need a bit of forgiveness, some need more than others. Suffering is power. Suffering is fuel for kindness. Like the great Patti Smith once said, “Those of us who understand suffering extend our hands.” I think it goes beyond that soundbite. Those of us who understand suffering forgive those of us who cause others to suffer, and hope for a bit of understanding and forgiveness of our less than stellar acts along the way. It is all shades of grey. Very little in this universe is totally of the light or the lack of it.
So this is what I am going to do: I am going to stop wasting my time not forgiving. I am also not going to be a fool and learn the lessons, that some people just can’t be helped, they can’t be saved, and so to let them go on their way without me.
I am sad and lonely and scared as hell. I don’t know what the future holds for a person like me who is trying to learn the delicate act of forgiveness. What will I do with all that power once I hold it back in my hands? I hope to transform all that suffering into good, and like an alchemist make a few more precious golden moments out of the evil, pain and suffering wrought upon me and those I loved and love still.
So, here’s to letting go, forgiveness and the removal of power for people to continue to hurt us, long after they are gone. It is a bitter draught. It is bad medicine, but it is the only cure I can think of for my aching and broken heart.