The Freedom of Forgiveness

Lately, I’ve been on a mission to heal my past. Perhaps it’s the looming 50th birthday (Gack!), but I don’t want to head into my sunset years with dark clouds chasing me. And a funny thing has happened…it’s been fun and freeing and lovely! Just this week I had breakfast with a woman whom I hadn’t really seen and talked to in 10 years, but I had been very close to for decades before that. Things happen—especially when work is involved—but at some point I realized it was up to me to say I was sorry.

And so I did. Just an email (isn’t email wonderful?). And now we are back to laughing together again and sharing stories of all the things that happened while we went our separate ways. With the distance, we could both look back and see things a bit more clearly and more deeply—but literally, water under the bridge has now flowed and cleansed the memories, and I can see the past so much more clearly than I did before. Most importantly, I don’t have a pang of pain every time I think of what happened. Now it’s a little pang of happiness.

The list of people whom I might need to forgive or ask forgiveness from is getting shorter and shorter, and I can honestly say that each effort to reach out and let go of the pain has been rewarded with pleasure. Sometimes, it’s just been a quick email that says I’m sorry for what happened and hope that we can let go of the pain. Other times, I have let people know that I do not hold any grudges for things they might have done to me that seemed awful at the time. Because what often happens is that in darkness, those wounds can fester, and they need sunshine to heal properly.

And in the process of healing, I see that everyone needs and wants to grow and change and evolve, even if it’s frightening. But if we replace that fear with love, growth happens joyfully and freedom follows.

So if there is anyone out there who thinks I owe them an apology for something, just let me know.


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9 Responses to The Freedom of Forgiveness

  1. Nikki January 18, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    How wonderful! I have one of those nagging at me for a few years now. Perhaps your words will inspire me to finally DO something about it. Let’s see…

    Anyway, I don’t know you but I’m very proud of you for having the courage to take the steps you mention above. It can’t be easy.

  2. Dana B January 18, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    This is great, Maria. Just what I needed to read, actually.

  3. Donna in Delaware January 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Good for you Maria! That’s the way to go. It is not an easy way for most of us. I have been telling my husband for years that he would be better of mentally and physically, if he would let certain things go. If a person can do something about a situation, do it, if not, then don’t worry about it. Holding grudges never helps. Burning bridges is just as bad, but sometimes you must.

    There have been some problems with family members over the decades that he needed to reconcile himself with. He was wrong and they were wrong. I have made them all meet and talk things out several times over a few years. Needless to say that it was difficult for them all to say, ‘I’m sorry’ and to let bygones be bygones. It has taken many years, but he has done so. He still have a small way to go, but at least he have made the initial start and did progress. Good for him!

    I sincerely hope that more people follow your example and relieve themselves of some or all of their misery. It is good for not onlyu them, but for everyone around them.

  4. Jenny January 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Deliciously poetic – especially “Because what often happens is that in darkness, those wounds can fester, and they need sunshine to heal properly.” It takes so much effort sometimes to harbor a grudge or hurt feelings, so this really was wonderful to hear.

  5. Kimi January 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this, Maria. I actually had to break away from my pride and say “I’m sorry” to someone starting this year, which I call my year of progress. I realized I couldn’t go further in life without saying it face to face and, boy, what healing it did for me. Glad to know you did what you had to and the end result is a happy one. How I wish that everyone could so easily learn to take the courage and say those little words that are so simple yet powerful. This is a life lesson I take each day.

  6. Deb January 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Steps toward our true liberation lie in the recognition of what serves us and the release of what does not. While we often think forgiveness is about the person we are forgiving, in reality, it is the step towards healing ourselves.

  7. Sarah January 22, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    This is beautiful.
    It has me thinking of a particular person I could stand to write an email to.
    Thank you!

  8. jess January 23, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    thank you… you words always mean so much to me.. and helps me every time i sit and read.. today too… it did create more atoms.. then wat san says… hahahah i know he will like it too…

  9. jo/feltfree May 10, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    beautifully helpful. thank you!

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