View this post on Instagram
Forgiveness is hard.
There is not a doubt in my mind that forgiveness is one of the most difficult things any of us will ever have to do, and that’s probably an understatement.
But the fact that it is so difficult tells us forgiveness is one of the most powerful gestures in the world. Let me be clear, no matter the slight, big or small, to forgive takes strength—both mentally and physically. However, once we do forgive, we allow our body and mind to return to a composed state; we free ourselves. We are able to find a place of understanding, healing, and peace. We are able to truly move forward.
I was hurt; I was pissed; I was sad; I was angry; I was a shell of my former self. Consumed by negative ideas and feelings, I was not the person I wanted to be. Needless to say, I was struggling. I was trapped by my anger and the feelings of being hurt. I wasn’t living day by day, but making it from moment to moment. I was terrified of my own thoughts, of where they would lead me. I filled my head with every surrounding noise I could (TV, music, podcasts, conversations) just so I wouldn’t have to hear my own brain talking to me, telling me how I had been wronged. I couldn’t let it go; I couldn’t move on with my life.
I’m not sure why, maybe I was tired or perhaps just sick of the constant fight, but one morning I let the thoughts come. I was terrified at first. All of the things I was scared to ponder and think about, I let flow through me as they pleased. I sat and stared out the window as I followed my thought process. Those waves of reflection crashed over me; I realized they were not the painful thoughts I once believed they would be. So I listened.
To my amazement, my thoughts did not take me to a dark place. They did not take me toward hate and resentment. My thoughts allowed me to reach the idea that not every action is as blunt as it seems on the surface. I had been hurt, yes, but that was not the whole story. There were different circumstances for each of us—multiple people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions—but most of all, we were all people, and people are imperfect.
Remembering that each human is an unfinished work, I realized it was time for me to forgive those who had trespassed against me.
As I came to this realization, I started to let all of the visceral emotions I was feeling flow through me. The result was this poem. I call it, “Time to Forgive.”
Trapped by hurt, the pain is all but inescapable.
Anger floods my body from its depths to the surface.
Trying to tread these waters, I only thrash and flail.
The cage I live in sinks as I struggle just to breathe.
Time is fast and slow, moments and days are all I know.
I am afraid to sit with my thoughts.
Trying not to think, but it’s no use.
To no end, my thoughts overwhelm me.
Unforgiving, the pain crashes through.
Time is fast and slow, moments and days are cold like snow.
Feeling weak and defeated, I give in,
Allowing thoughts through my hardened fortress.
The sea is uneasy and chaotic,
Yet I stand, steadfast, on the roots I’ve grown.
Time is fast and slow, moments and days are not my foe.
No longer am I conquered by pain’s devout stiffness,
No longer am I consumed by the human sickness.
I let pain enter and become my own thoughts witness,
I confronted fear and was freed by my forgiveness.
Time is fast and slow, moments and days let us grow.
Forgiveness is hard, but it is not impossible. It takes time. Sometimes it will take longer than others, and that is perfectly fine.
I am not here to tell you how or who you should forgive but to let you know it is okay to forgive. Let me be clear, to forgive does not mean forgetting. It means remembering, recognizing, letting go, and to continue on with love and compassion.
We forgive not for “their” sake, but for our own. From my experience, there is nothing more freeing in the world than forgiving someone. It takes the pressure off of you. Please, take your time and process the way you need to. But I hope you do not close yourself off to the idea that you can forgive and to remember that forgiveness is okay (when you’re ready to forgive).
I promise you, forgiveness is freeing. I’ll leave you with a bonus poem I wrote, “To Forgive.”
To forgive is to let go,
To live and to know,
To release sorrow,
To remember and grow.