Sunday, October 28, 2007

Forgiveness and grieving

I am always amazed at how emotions ebb and flow, rise and fall. Not that I should be. I mean, emotions just are. They're there. Part of me. They don't make me who I am, but they sure can affect how I am, how I encounter the world, how I move through my days.

These past couple of weeks have reminded me that my emotions can sometimes get out of sorts with my reality. That I need to continuously take a break and breathe, breathe, breathe.

At Choices a couple of weeks ago, Thelma Box, the founder, said something in one of the sessions that reverberated throughout my being. I'm not going to repeat what she said simply because it isn't her words that count, it's how I responded. I felt tears prick the back of my eyes, sadness permeate my being. I left the room so that I could collect myself without disturbing the group and later spoke with Thelma one on one.

"My father died 12 years ago," I told her. "Today is the first time I allowed myself to miss him."

"For some of us," she replied, "grief takes longer to work its way to the surface."

I've never grieved my father. Never let myself acknowledge that regardless of what he'd done, I love him and miss him. He was an angry man. He was also a poet. A silent, thoughtful man who in between his outbursts loved to entertain, to take long walks, to cook and to read.

For most of my life I have worked at forgiving my father for not loving me. What I heard that day from Thelma was, my father always loved me, even when some of the things he did were not very loving. They were to him, an act of love for he could only love me in the only way he knew how, in relation to how much he loved himself and had been loved in his life.

What I realized that day was, I was forgiving my father for the wrong thing. He always loved me. Forgiveness needs to focus on what he did that I carry today as the scars that hurt me and keep me from embracing the beauty of my life today.

Twelve years ago, I thought it was over. I convinced myself that some things just don't end well, and one of them was my relationship with my father. But, in this universe of abundance, in this place where love is and all things end well, even when they appear not to, it's because they're not over yet. In accepting my father loved me, the pain and sorrow die and the story ends well today. I forgive and I grieve.
A big shift. In my understanding of his love, I can let go of the anger as I step with joy and a peaceful, forgiving heart into love. My father loved me in the only way he knew how, and today, I love myself in the best way I can -- with acceptance of all of me, beauty and the beast as I move with grace, ease and dignity through love. Today, I grieve the loss of my father, the man who planted the seed that became the beauty of my life today.

The question is: What sad endings are you hanging onto in the belief the story didn't end well? Where are you refusing to see, it's just not over yet because all things end well. It's the way of the world.

No comments: