The Long Road to Forgiveness
This was originally published on MySpace on April 7, 2010. While the band is not mentioned here, their song "Just to Get High" served as a mirror forcing me to read my anger meter as I walked through the early part of the process of forgiveness. Also, the subject of this entry had an uncanny similarity to one member of the band, which is why I recall his name to this day. In fact, I made him repeat it to make sure I'd heard correctly. Here goes.
This will be done in the same fashion as a "newsletter" I once created for a Microsoft Word class. Of course, it was Word '97, so you can imagine a lot of things have changed. I titled the original project Good News Gazette. It featured various people, both named and unnamed, who profoundly affected me. Each piece addressed the person(s) directly. Obviously, the point of the assignment was to learn all the features of Word, such as the use of columns, colors, formatting, etc. Here, I'm only concerned with subject matter. In fact, the instructor said you could just use material you found in magazines and such so long as you sourced it properly. But I decided to write my own, featuring 5 stories if I recall correctly. I hope to locate that original file and scan and upload it someday if it didn't get lost in all the chaos of the last year and a half. Honestly, if I were to try to create a 2nd edition, I believe the time and space would fail me to give due honor and gratitude to people who have helped me through this latest period in my life. Many of these people would wish to remain anonymous. I think of one gracious friend who let me escape to her place for 4 months when I simply couldn't stand to stay at my place after my husband's death. Then, there's the one who recognized that I would need certain practical things because a lot of things such as cooking utensils had to be scrapped. Everything in me said, "I don't want to! I don't want to believe this has really happened!" But she gently yet firmly pushed me to do what I had to do. Then countless others have helped me clean, organize, etc. It's still an ongoing process.
But I'm writing the following primarily because most likely, I'll probably never run across this person again. The challenge will be simultaneously preserving the confidentiality of all concerned and making sure to leave no doubt for that person as to whom I'm referring. But if this person never sees this, I hope it's detailed yet general enough that it could help others who find themselves needing to either give or receive forgiveness.
The Long Road To Forgiveness
You came upon me on March 20, 2010, 4 days after a very fateful downsizing announcement. I'd already been in a fragile state of mind due to losing my husband in October 2008 (see previous posts), and this news was only bringing on more shellshock. But apparently, I'm a pretty good actress, because you observed that I was always smiling. We, or at least I, had unfortunately missed the #13 bus at Northgate and Patio by literally one light cycle. I told you that you just barely missed it so it would be another hour, and you said you'd wait with me because it was no fun to wait alone. In fact, if I recall correctly, you said something to that effect about 3 times throughout the conversation, and I almost got the impression, if I may be so bold, that perhaps you felt the need to justify your decision to hang around.
In any case, we discussed a lot of things during that hour, chief of which were your past and my loss and fear of further downsizing. I'm ashamed to admit that, being a believer in Jesus Christ as long as I have--since May 1990--you proved to be an encouragement to me, reminding me that God was bigger than the troubled economy. Furthermore, I couldn't help noting your humility and repentant spirit that many people, even if they've done wrong, don't possess. It reminded me of the comparison between the Publican and the Pharisee in the Bible:
Luke 18:12-14 (King James Version)
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
That was my impression, anyway. Then, when the next bus finally came, you couldn't even board because there were only two bike racks which were already taken, and I felt awful knowing you could have simply ridden on an hour ago and been on your merry way!
It wasn't until 3 days later that I started thinking about some of the details of the conversation. First, I realized that you and my husband shared a similar past. I didn't disclose that to you then. The second thing that struck me was that my husband hung out with friends in the same town where you said you had hung out. Suddenly, although the likelihood was slim to none, I wondered if you two had crossed paths. You can almost guess what I wondered next. That's why I made the comment that people can hide things very well for a long time, to which I remember you concurred. To understand why I would want to tell you all this, you have to understand that as recently as the end of February, I still harbored all kinds of bitterness, anger, doubt, questions, etc. So the thought now came to me, on March 23rd, So now that you've met someone who's apparently trying his best to do a 180-degree turnaround, are you still going to destroy yourself being bitter over the untimely loss and the unidentified people with whom he may have associated? Could you forgive if you actually discovered the identity of those people? I realized the answer was Yes! and the anger was gone.
I'm not really sure why I felt the need to tell you all this. Maybe I thought I detected a note of deep regret. I suppose it comes down to this: I just wanted you to know that even if you never receive direct forgiveness from your family, you can at least know you played a catalyst in bringing about forgiveness on my part, and in so doing, you can rest assured that you received it in an indirect, vicarious way, for what it's worth. You may never run across this, but who cares! If it helps you the way you unwittingly helped me, that's all that matters.