The Long Road To Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a process not a word. Over the next few posts, I will talk about forgiveness from time to time as I try to show how I came to know what real forgiveness means to me.

Hate is a powerful and strong emotion. Once the seed of hate is planted, it’s like a cancer that feeds off itself as it grows deep within your soul. It can totally consume you. I hated my father for  abusing the trust I placed in him. I never wanted to see him again. But, Shantel helped me begin the healing process of forgiveness.

As my parents were moving out of our combined home, my mother was crying and said she didn’t want what happened with my brother, Tommy, to happen with us. She begged me to not cut myself off from them. She told me she didn’t know how to fix this and said if we just gave it time it would all blow over and be alright. I told her I couldn’t help her through this because I didn’t even know how to help myself or my family through it. I told her not to ask more of me than I could give because I didn’t have anything left to give.

As time went on, Shantel began to speak more and more about my father. Then, one day, she said  she wanted us to forgive him. She said he was a good man, he just made a big mistake. She began asking if we could have them over for dinners and holiday’s. I wasn’t ready to hear any of that. However, I have a very strong faith and our home is God centered. It didn’t come easy for me and it took years to finalize, but, over time, I accepted the fact that if Shantel could forgive like that, I would need to find a way to try to forgive too. It’s easy to say you forgive someone, but  I believe if that forgiveness doesn’t come from the heart, it really isn’t forgiveness at all.

It was getting close to Lent and I made it my Lenten obligation to make peace with my father and forgive him. My mother would call everyday just to talk about nothing in particular. She would just chat about her day and ask how Shantel and Bill were doing and acted like everything was just absolutely normal with us. One day when she called, I asked if they would like to come for Easter dinner. That was the first step I took on the long road to forgiveness. My mother was thrilled and said they would love to come to Easter dinner. She asked if I wanted to talk to dad. I said not now, but I will talk to him soon. I hung up with my hands shaking because I knew what I needed to do but I didn’t think I had the strength to get it done.

A few days later, I went to my parents house. My father answered the door and we stood face to face just looking at each other. Then, he invited me in. My mother came out of the back room and we talked. I told them I was willing to try to work through this for the greater good of the family as a whole. I told my father I forgive him even though he never said he was sorry. My father said nothing, he just sat silent looking at me. It’s hard to forgive someone who is not seeking forgiveness. But, at that time, I thought I forgave him. I really thought I had. I would find out later that real forgiveness wouldn’t come that easy for me.

My parents came to Easter dinner. The tension was there, but we somehow all managed to get through it. As my parents were leaving they extended an invite for us to come to their house for my upcoming birthday dinner. We accepted.

Next: Dad Needs Help!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gotham Girl
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 02:58:03

    Shantel continues to amaze me! I know how proud you must be! xoxo your frissy


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