Letter to Forgiveness

Dear Forgiveness

What is there to forgive in my life?  All or nothing..?

Then this childhood memory suddenly swoops into my brain:
They didn’t know me, they’d never seen me before, but this was my day: me, a woman child of 12 or so lolling around on the swings in a strange play ground with a plaited friend.  Suddenly we were surrounded and my ‘friend’ ran off as three bigger girls gathered on me and punched, pulled, kicked and bit.  Bleeding and limping, I howled home to my mother, who held me close in horror and then sat me down and brushed out handfuls of the long blonde hair that they had yanked out of my head: my crown was completely bald and bleeding, then stinging with TCP – and to this day, the hair there has never grown back quite right – for now it is short and crooked, split and colourless, a constant reminder that hairdressers find a particularly shocking phenomenon to contemplate…

So I’ve been attacked physically, yes and verbally too; I’ve been bullied, slapped, put in mortal danger, rejected, misunderstand, deserted, overlooked, ignored, made redundant and hurt by people I loved and who I thought loved me.  I have been shocked by mild and wild acts of violence, selfishness and inconsideration that have devastated and rocked me to the very core of my being – shaking my belief in myself, in those entrusted to be with me, and in my very life.

When thinking about this theme of forgiveness, the playground bullies of my childhood came out to taunt and attack me again.  Why now? Why this instance?  I have recently reached an impasse in my life where it seems I have been challenged on so many real or imagined fronts; and the thought of forgiveness is a sudden and blatant consideration.  So this long lost and battered day in my life is rearing its’ head again and will serve to represent many wrong doings in a long and Peachey life; and I will now take their presentation as a cue to consider, resolve, heal and move on…

For an often sensitive, sometimes selfless and sometimes selfish person, living in a similar world – when people close to me – cross me, it afflicts me so very much.  This is magnified when MY feelings simply do not come into the equation of the maligned action – the perpetrator stating quintessentially that: I am not important, not cared for, or not worth the simple damned consideration.

So is that is my realm of forgiveness – created by others or dreamt up by me – a gift to be parted with or else a weapon of missed destruction…

For I remember using forgiveness with a point scoring, self satisfied, evil intent one day with my mother – who, as she so often did, was finding copious reasons to be angry with my teen self.  She was cursing and shouting and blaming, and then the tactic hit me, like a lightening bolt through my shoulders: I stood up straight, smiled, looked her in the eye and said ‘I forgive you for this and all the terrible things you have ever done to me.’  Then she flew at me like a furious animal and I was slapped and screamed at, whilst I kept yelling ‘I forgive you, I forgive you!’ through smug hot tears, and the point scored, prolonged the seething, shouting bout of unforgiving anger…

I never used that particular tactic again and have always realised after the event, that such strategies never serve me well…

So was my mother a victim of me?  Was I a victim – all those perpetrated times when I was sinned against?  Are victims made by others or are they self made creations – reacting to a chain of circumstances with a label of wrong doing, hurt and crime?

In my world, as a habituated human and my mother’s daughter – I can see blame every where – I can wear that crimson cloak of victimhood and decide it has defined me.  Then, as woman, as a coach, as some one who values her freedom of will – I can see that I can create me and my reality; and I can peel off the label or never let it stick in the first place…  And I do both: I dwell in darkness, duelling with demons, and then again, I skip in the sunshine, as time, tide, roller coaster and mentality decree…

Ultimately I find that forgiveness is a choice, a willingness, or a lack thereof… rather than a default setting sprang into via wounded reprisal – a bat to hit back what I feel someone else has beaten me with.

Forgiveness too is power – which can be smugly misused – but that is easily sensed – for along with words, forgiveness is an energy, and when it is authentically given, we just know – through tone, or eyes or six sense, or what ever our own flavour of antennae detects…

Forgiveness is power, though many would argue that it is a turning the other cheek kind of weakness.  And somehow, not to forgive, means that the perpetrator is permanently punished.  The thing is, in reality, that it is the un-forgiver that is punished – weighed down, in their own head and heart, with a burden they will carry, like a gargoyle on their back.  Such self punishment is ignored or a sacrifice to be chosen, (either consciously or unconsciously) in preference to condoning an ‘unpardonable’ act – when often it was considered to be a justified or non descript action on the part of the so called perpetrator.

And there are the minor indiscretions of life and there are atrocities beyond imagining, yet such unforgiven burdens are heavy mental weights to carry around.  They dawdle and drag you down, slowing the spirit and seeking to bloat themselves up with collected further (perceived) wrong doings – sucking them in, causing more and more to fly in and cling to one another – like iron shavings stuck to a mouldy magnet.

Yet the power comes when forgiveness is a choice and given of free will – although it is not always willingly presented.  It can come uncomfortably, or be as light and easy as a feather floating off from your forgiving hand – choosing to let it fly out of sight.

And most of all forgiveness is a gift – sometimes to the receiver, but more critically, to the giver.  Forgiveness is freedom, it is letting go of perceived or actual actions that clank and bang against our sense of self, getting in our way, filling us with dark ink; an ink that swills around our suffering souls, ready to squirt, fling or fire as ammunition out into the world, or to ripen and rot within.

So as these letters go… First of all I consider… I see what un-forgiveness does to me and brings to me.  I choose to see it as something I do not want in the life and times of me. Then I decide I want to give forgiveness and with it the cool, delicious relief and lightness that it brings to my spirit.  I name it and then I present it – this time as an act of writing.  I can breath this to its’ receiver or I can give it quietly, in my heart – simply and silently as my own cathartic ceremony.  Then I celebrate what I have done – a healing, amazing, liberating act of wonderful will.

And I know that I should be, am, will and may be forgiven – often and never too…

By giving the gift of forgiveness, I can now let the object of it go, or accept it or do what ever needs to be done to move on.  Not necessarily to forget or condone it, but to see it through different lenses, and to note how it has shaped me, in positive ways, how it makes me what I am: a vision stepping, running and then dancing in the light, to my own tune, the beating of my heart – a rhythm of pure love…

So, who ever and where you are, I forgive you, I ask your forgiveness, and most of all I forgive me

And that is how I forgive and this was my Love Letter to Forgiveness.

Yours sincerely

Sandra Peachey

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