My cousin invited us to go to her church this morning. They have been studying the Lord’s Prayer and today she was doing the sermon based on forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
That forgiveness thing is hard work. I think by a certain age we have all been hurt or betrayed by someone we love, and learning how to come to terms with that can be excruciating. As she said, when you are hurt by someone you love and trust you feel like one of the laws of life have been broken. Our inner circle of trusted people aren’t supposed to betray us, and when they do it is a life altering experience.
I struggle with the knowledge that I need to forgive. That the anger I hold towards the betrayer is really only damaging me. But forgiveness is such a complex thing. I feel like we have been taught (or maybe just I was taught) that what we need to do is just forgive and move on. But sometimes the hurt has cut so deep that it’s not that simple. Then I feel like a failure when I have tried to forgive but I just can’t do it.
But forgiveness is a process. And when it’s a deep hurt sometimes that process takes time. Like a lot of time. I need to honour that process.
Then there is the whole turn the other cheek idea that also seems to be a part of this forgiveness path. My cousin talked (and even had it acted out) about what turning the other cheek really means. How it’s not about continuing to be a victim to the person who is hurting you, but rather a non violent means of regaining your power and your dignity.
Which I needed to hear, because when I get hurt my gut instinct is to make that person feel hurt back – or at the very least let other people know what an ass they have been. But, there is a dignity that is gained by taking the high road and not dropping to their level. Honestly, if it’s a personality trait in the other person, eventually other people see it as well and there is no point in you having also become someone inflicting pain. Easier said than done, but more rewarding in the end. There’s also that small fact that we are all imperfect people trying to do our best – this does not mean that I need to let that forgiven betrayer back into my inner circle of trusted people. But it’s important to remember that if I’m a loved child of God, then so are they.
I believe that things come to you when you need them. I really needed to her her sermon today. I need to actively continue my process of forgiveness. For my own soul and health, to make me a better person. Hearing these wise and well thought out words from someone I love and respect made them have all the more impact.
I need to keep working and allowing that process. Listening to her sermon was my spiritual happiness moment today.
My other joyful happiness moment was this afternoon. The kids and I went to the creek for a swim. It’s still warm water in our mountain creek – huge bonus- and the swimming holes are so deep the kids brought snorkels and flippers. I watched them swim up and down for hours.
When they were done we sat on the shore staring at the water in silence. Jacob sighed and said I miss grandpa. Being at the creek was something he loved so much, and he was always so good about playing with the kids. But then instead of just sitting and crying (ok I admit I sat and cried) we shared memories of fun things we had done with him, memories of things he’d told us, and then moved into the present and future and talked about when we would swim next and which hill looked good for tobogganing this winter. Which is what Dad would want I think – for us to keep loving and living and looking ahead while remembering the past. I miss him so much, especially at times like that. But he gave us a lot of good things to hold onto and move forward with.
We are very blessed.