Why forgiveness is important? My brain and my heart worked deep on this answer. II had been asked the question “how did I get to forgiveness, by an amazing woman sitting in a room across the desk as she had shared her own traumas.
Peace. Why forgiveness is important is for peace. Peace and growth. I didn’t want circumstances to block my accessing growth. There were a few people (and circumstances) I’ve had to make peace with. Myself. My Dad. My Mum. My abuser. My financial mistakes. My spiritual separation. My beliefs. My God.
I don’t even know why, but for some reason, when I was little, my Mum thought it wise to tell me that she had watched The Exorcist, and that she thought I was going to go all Linda Blair on her ass as a five year old.
This confession to me, caused two things to occur. First, the request for a little silver cross that I cherished and wore every day. Second, a lot of fear based praying to God that I would be good, and not end up a head spinning vomity mess. It was, in many ways, a sad introduction to belief and faith.
Nevertheless, it was, also, in many ways, the first way that I learned about protection, that I could “hand things over” to some force greater than myself, and that I could ask for things which, ultimately, would manifest.
The first time that I guess I really believed that I was being protected by God was when I was in fourth grade. I had been subjected to abuse that started at the end of first grade, and did not, really reach its finality until I was in seventh grade. That event, or period of my young life deserves its own story – but it is where I once again learned protection – not of myself, but of others, shame, fear, and the ability to hold a secret.
Anyway, armed with my tiny silver cross, I would ask, simply for what was transpiring in my young life to stop. I did not ask for the how. I did not ask for harm to come to the perpetrator. My request was simple. Please make it stop.
Imagine, if you will, that the perpetrator’s actions are unknown to all and sundry. Imagine, if you will, that you keep their actions safe for fear of retribution against those you love, and have chosen to protect. I mean, if you had a small pocket knife held against you at the age of 8 with threats against your family – do you think you would speak up? Yes, I should have spoken up, and my inability to do so caused another ripple, but that is a story for another day.
Imagine, once more, that the perpetrator is involved in an accident, and their ability to act is now limited. He receives sympathy, compassion, support from all. Except you.
You sit there with the news, now at age 10 (the age my daughter is now), in quiet amazement. You are in awe, because in your small world, a miracle has happened. You have been heard. You. Are. Safe. For the first time in years, you feel relief. Quietly, on the inside, unbeknownst to anyone, you celebrate. Once again, two things happen. First, you are convinced that there is, indeed, a God. Second, you are convinced that you are meant to do “something good” in this world – why else, would you be granted this?
As time passes, you attend church, you don’t attend church, you attend church again. You don’t really have a “team” . I mean, I was born Church of England, then went to a Catholic Church, then Baptist, so its a bit of a hodge podge – but the belief stayed the same.
Until your mother dies. Which is, of course, your fault. You moved out of home, and two weeks later, without you as her emotional support, she was dead. You had asked for her to find peace. Out loud. And so she went.
Without understanding the power of words,
You manifested the worst possible thing ever.
You figure you will sit down the beach where the big blue wheat siloes are across from the Caravan Park you lived in. The caravan park she thought it was a good idea to relocate you to when you were sixteen (three years before her death) for reasons not of your doing.
You figure you will take off your cross that you loved, and toss it in the Ocean.
In that moment, I, unwittingly went to war.
I had felt abandoned.
I had felt the power of asking for things too great to understand – both good and bad. So I set out on a quest to show just how strong I was. If you have ever seen the movie Forest Gump where Lietenant Dan is amongst the storm in the ocean – it was kind of like that – but for years.
Decades. Decades of unforgiveness.
The decisions that followed meant I chose to be treated the wrong way by the wrong people (not all people – but there were some doozies for sure). I chose to try and save people who did not want to be saved. I was so resolute in showing resilience and strength – and in turn – that is exactly what I received. Opportunities to show just that.
This path of strength continued. After the loss of my father, and my sister.
I switched out the word God for the word Universe, as I still believed in something bigger.
I’m not sure if others have done the same – switched out the word. For me, it was more to do with the wrongdoings of a few in powerful positions, so I disassociated with any religion. That’s my truth.
It stayed my truth until one day I found myself completing a coaching course and doing some naval gazing. I realised what I had actually done. I had asked for all of it. Without considering the cost. I mean, I believe we receive what we believe. Wherever our focus is, that is what we see.
Use the word God, Universe, that is for you to choose – belief is everything – even if you believe in nothing – that is what you will have.
I realised I had made myself so strong, I had started to lose my softness. Just to prove a point. With my “bring it on -let me show you what I’m made of” mindset, I had made my ally – my one protector – my opponent.
So I surrendered.
I called a truce. That has taken time though. Like any relationship, understanding why forgiveness is important. Well, forgiveness takes time.
First, I forgave the perpetrator. I mean, what must have happened to him for him to think his actions were ok? The second forgiveness – my request and the death of my mum – that is harder. It’s not always a one and done thing. Somedays it pops up and the process starts over. The calling a truce. Forgiving the pain that I have, and that I have caused.
I guess I’m sharing this for three reasons.
The first being, you really manifest your life. Choose your words wisely.
Last year the lesson of “you can ask for anything” became embedded on a day in September. I have only shared what happened on this day with those closest to me. I’m still tossing up how much of it goes into the book.
The second reason, is an act of spiritual courage. A gift to yourself. Why forgiveness really matters.
I have a lovely friend who shared with me how she had been shamed for her faith when she was younger and made to feel embarrassed about who she is and what she believes in.
You should not have to hide who you are or what your story is, out of fear.
I have asked her to go to church with me today. For the spiritual side, not the religious side – if that makes sense.
The third, is forgiveness.
I have asked my friend to come with me as I am sure I am going to ugly cry like a mofo (I’ll ask for forgiveness for my occasional potty mouth too) and I need a little support as I get to the healing part from the war.
So whatever day you read this, remember that it is a new day.
You can choose a war – internal or external – with whoever or whatever you want.
Or, no matter how hard or how scary or how awkward you will feel…
You can choose to be brave and choose love and forgiveness.
Why forgiveness matters? Well, it will set you free in a way that is not physical.
Update – 2021 – Book completed. Read more of my story, in my best selling book, Awkward is the New Brave