“I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive her.”
I said these words to my mom in a video message. I couldn’t say it to her on the phone but I had to get them off my chest. Knowing my heart is still bleeding and carrying heavy burdens from the past four years.
I said these words out loud. Again to a friend. Voicing feelings I have been holding in for awhile.
Scared of the responses. Expecting shame, repulsion, and shock.
Surprised when they were said: Understanding, perceptive, and kind.
Every night (well honestly, almost every night) I pray for forgiveness. Asking God to forgive me and so I may forgive.
I have heard it over and over again.
I need to forgive.
I will never move forward if I don’t forgive.
I have to forgive them.
I need to forgive and get over it.
I will never be happy until I am able to forgive them.
I will never find peace without forgiveness.
The pressure placed upon me to forgive has increased the heaviness. Intensified the pain. Widened the healing time length.
Somehow what has happened has been placed on me. Their actions are my responsibility. The focus has shifted from what was done to whether or not I forgive. The guilt laid upon me for holding on. For not letting go. For not getting over it. For living in the past. For being angry. Still.
Shame on me. Shame is me.
I am drowning in the expectations of forgiveness.
It may be partly my fault. I thought I understood forgiveness. What it meant. How it happens. I have said the words out loud to my former husband. I forgive you. And I meant it. At that moment.
I believed one and done. Even though I knew, deep inside of me, the path to forgiveness is much more complex and complicated.
In that very moment, when I spoke the words, I forgave him for the affair. And I work everyday to forgive him again and again. For that. The unfaithfulness. But lies, deceptions, manipulations, and more that is so tangled up in the act has crushed me.
Growing the list. Becoming more oppressive. Expanding the exceptions. For me.
I desperately want to. I wish to say the words and mean them. Deep within my soul. To speak strong and clear. Firm in my position.
But I am not there.
At a place of forgiveness.
Of one, many, or all.
It may take years. Decades. Of healing, hard work, therapy, prayers.
I may be able to forgive one thing and not another.
I may be on my death bed when finally I am able to.
I may never get there.
And that will be between God and myself.
As I am a mere human. Limited in my ability to have pure, true, holy love. Unable to extend full mercy. Insufficient capacity to do what is asked of me.
In my heart, I know God doesn’t expect me to just hand over forgiveness. I believe He wants me to turn to Him. Asking Him to guide me and help me. Setting my mind and heart towards Him. Knowing I will always fall short. Yet, seeking again. Until one day, I am with Him. Free of sin. Free of pain. Free of suffering.
I am removing exceptions placed on me. Ridding myself of the guilt. To be somewhere I am not. To do things I am not capable of right now. I am turning towards truth. Picking myself up to try again. Constantly working on what He asks of me. Holding His promises close to my heart. His affirmations. His love. His mercy. His grace.
For sometimes there are things only God can forgive.