Those of you who have followed me for any length of time or perhaps just read a few of my poems may have noticed that I have a problem with the inability to forgive one particular person from my past. I say inability and I mean just that. The desire has been there all along. The idea of how necessary it is for my own healing and growth has never escaped my understanding. It was simply impossible and so I waited, and then I waited some more.
One thing I have known since the beginning stages of my recovery from the abuse and everything that partnered it was that I had to find one moment in time when my abuser showed humanity toward me or someone else that I had witnessed, that I could remember. I knew without being told that until I found that moment forgiveness could not settle over me, sit inside my spirit, or set me free. So, from time to time I would search for that moment. I even wrote about my search in a poem posted on my blog. I could not find it no matter how deeply I looked. There were a couple of times when I thought I had landed on something that I could force into the shape of compassion or kindness from him but those memories would always eventually resist the mold I needed.
Today, purely by chance (is there really any such thing?) I happened upon a re-airing of an old Oprah show that featured Marianne Williamson, the author of Return to Love among a host of other books. She stated the truth that I had accepted as my own. Is there anything the one that hurt you ever did right? She went on to say that if you could find even just one thing then you could find innocence in the other person at least in that one moment and forgiveness could come. Of course, I am paraphrasing and probably not very well, but it was validating to hear someone else say what I had been thinking all this time.
Not long after watching the show, the memory came… the one time I could credit compassion to him, a clue of kindness within one isolated moment throughout the 21 years I had known him. But all I needed was one.
It was exactly 14 days after Hurricane Katrina. We were driving down a Georgia highway on our way to the American Red Cross when a little white car ran a red light and hit my silver Sequoia spinning us completely around. When we came to a stop, I was on the floor after having been rammed into the windshield, fracturing it with my head. And here’s the moment… he called out to me a couple of times and I could hear panic and what I believe was fear for my welfare in his voice. There, that’s it. It might not seem like much, and of course, once I arrived at the hospital by ambulance on a backboard and bloodied, he left before I was even seen by a doctor. The amazing thing to me is that part doesn’t matter anymore. It’s just part of the story.
Finally, after all the false starts toward forgiveness, all the times I thought I found a way to fake it but the farce would always fall flat, I have the one thing I lacked. I found one moment in which he was human, that one moment of innocence that has now forged the footpath for my forgiveness.
It is a quiet joy I feel in the wake of this genuine feeling of letting go. I have waited for this release for so long and had almost given up hope, but not quite. Now my inside matches my outside… I am free inside and out. It’s even better than I imagined it would be.