Monday, October 23, 2006

The Night the Lights Went Out

Last week I was writing a rather serious post about forgiveness when we lost power.

"Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something," I thought.

Lately, on the outside I have been all joy and light. But on the inside there is nothing but seriousness. I'm not faking the happy. I don't do fake. But I just find that in my quiet moments, I can't stop thinking about life's grand mysteries.

Like forgiveness.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself spewing anger at my husband. I'd say I had no idea where it even came from, but that would be a lie. There have been a few things in these last few years that I haven't been able to let go. And my resentment of them has been growing quietly and steadily over time.

I've never felt like I could express my anger over these things, because I didn't have the right. He can't control how much of his time is spent. I can't blame him fully for decisions we made together. But still, right or not, my anger was there.

And then, pop. Out it came. In one not-so-sterling moment, I let it spew forth.

I called him less than an hour later. "I'm sorry I yelled at you."

That's all I said. He forgave me. If there is one thing my husband is amazing at it is asking for and bestowing forgiveness.

But to be honest, I was still waiting for my apology. I was still waiting for him to ask for forgiveness for things he didn't even know were bothering me. And then I realized something.

Forgiveness is not something we give to other people. It is something we allow ourselves to feel. I didn't need for him to apologize. I didn't even need for him to understand. I know that he loves me more than ten women deserve. I know that he would never do anything to hurt me. In fact, I know that his main goal in life is to make me and the kids happy.

It was time to let it go. All of it. The petty and the important.

It was time to forgive him, and myself for being angry at him.

And it feels so good.

So I decided to give wings to my other feelings of anger and hurt. I thought I had learned some life secret. I thought that if I could make the decision to forgive my husband, I could do it with everyone.

And for a few days, I really believed it. Until the night my power went out.

I tossed and turned that night trying to sleep. I was exhausted but my brain wouldn't shut off. It took me a while to realize that I was playing possible scenarios over and over again in my head. I was imagining confrontations with people who hurt me. I was imagining making them understand why I was angry. I was imagining them asking me for forgiveness.

What am I stupid?

Just because letting go worked with the man I love doesn't mean that I am mature enough to make it work in every situation.

Or maybe it shouldn't work in every situation. Maybe it only works in my marriage because my husband is the embodiment of honesty. It makes him easy to trust. And easy to love.

Maybe I shouldn't even try to forgive the others who have hurt me. Maybe the power went out as I was writing about forgiveness as a sign. To protect my heart? To learn from the hurt?

But remember that lesson I learned? Forgiveness is not something we give to other people. It is something we allow ourselves to feel. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves.

I'm going to try to forgive. I'm going to try damn hard. But I won't forget.

And I'll never trust again.

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