It is now Day 3 of the 30 Days of Truth challenge and I was doing well until I got to today’s topic: Something You Have to Forgive Yourself For.
Let’s be honest with each other for minute. Can we agree that regardless of who forgives and the forgiven, forgiveness is hard? Forgiveness requires soul-searching, deep thought and faith. not for the other person but for yourself
The whole notion of forgive and forget is not true for everything and everyone. For some people, it is one or the other but certainly not both and not at the same time. Maybe after a few years more like decades one will forget but in the here and now not so much.
Now I am not an advocate of spending your entire life mad at someone.
Truth be told, I don’t hold grudges.
For very long.
Okay so I do. Sue me! pero not for reals because you not gon get anything but a penny LOL.
I have been known to stay mad at someone for waaaay longer than I really need to be. I believe it is in our nature as humans to want to stay mad because we really do not know how to channel the emotions we feel when we have been wronged by someone else.
But what happens when we cannot forgive ourselves for something? To me, this is harder because if you’re like me, you are your worst and harshest critic, judge and jury. It may take five minutes to forgive a friend for criticizing your significant other or brilliant get rich quick scheme but five years to forgive yourself for running that traffic light when it was clearly not your turn and causing an accident. Or ten years for telling your mother an awful lie that caused her so much anguish your relationship with her was never the same after. Or twenty years when you find out that your gay sibling committed suicide because you and your conservative pseudo-Christian family would not look past his or her sexuality.
I was young. Mentally and in age. I thought I was grown. I thought this would never happen to a relatively good kid like me from Podunkville, USA. I came from a “Christian” home with “Christian values”. Who knew my thinking I was grown would lead to the one and only event in my life I regret. The one and only event that haunts me to this day the entire month of its anniversary. I have spent the majority of my life contemplating ways to forgive myself for that day that I remember so vividly as if it happened yesterday. I’ve read stories, magazine articles and books about “moving on” from traumatic events in one’s life. Nothing really helped. I thought (and still think) about it constantly. I needed something more than what I was already doing. It wasn’t possible to apologize to the person I wronged because the situation was complicated for more than just me. I would have opened a can of worms I wasn’t (and somewhat still not) ready to deal with.
I think it was April 2009 when I started going to Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. My sister had been attending church there for some time and invited me to go to the Easter Service. It was a weird feeling to be in church again because I had not attended on a regular basis in I don’t know how many years. I felt a sense of peace that I had not felt in YEARS, which really didn’t surprise me because I really do love going to church. I’m not a bible thumper nor some “holier than thou” type of person. I don’t go around quoting scripture or trying to convert people to a certain religion. I’m not at all my grandmother’s granddaughter. I love the ambience and aura that certain churches possess. At Lakewood, I feel an overwhelming sense of “being at home”. The people are so sweet and caring. Of course you wouldn’t think so if you saw how rude they become when trying to leave the parking garage. Jesus… The praise and worship portion of service reminds me of a black church. People of all races clap, sing, dance, sway with the beat, jump and down with joy and have a great time.
One Sunday, I believe a few months after I started attending regularly, I attended service by myself. If I remember right, it was the first time I had ever attended a church service alone. I sat in my sister and I’s usual spot. The music started. I sang along. Then I became emotional. Not my usual emotional where I can suppress whatever I am feeling. On this occasion, I could not suppress my emotions or the tears these emotions produced. I was crying so hard my chubby cheeks felt like river beds. I couldn’t explain what was going on. I had never cried like that in public before. I think that was the beginning of my long process of forgiving myself.
Since that day, I have had numerous emotional episodes at church. I don’t attend as often as I would like but I can honestly say attending Lakewood has helped me to process what happened so that I can eventually fully forgive myself.
Thanks for reading
The Southern Yankee