Yesterday at the Quaker Meeting when the messages centered on forgiveness I found myself standing to say this.
The experience I have had with forgiveness has been so satisfying. I have been able to look past the pain and actually come to appreciate the people who hurt me. I was able to see them for what they could bring to my life rather than what they took from it despite the failure between us. The people I am talking about are my parents. They really made some profound mistakes. I have a sister who ran away and a brother who joined a cult.
Despite this I know that the life my parents provided for us was significantly better than the lives they had themselves. My mother was an orphan. She didn’t have a lot of anything in life yet she provided for her family much more than she ever had.
I have talked about psychotherapy in here before so you know that I have found in it, success, especially using the Socratic method of asking questions to find insight. I understand that what happened between us is over, and from that I was able to create a new way of being with my parents. A new life. It was a greatly reduced one, but it was possible to relate to them in a new way that included understanding what they were able to contribute and that I could enjoy them. It was much less than I wanted, but it was a happy success to be able to forgive my mother and father and to make new experiences that included appreciating them despite the failures between us.
I feel lucky to have had this experience since ironically my mother taught me to hold grudges and to categorize those people that hurt us as bad. It is not like that. We all are the same, all capable of making serious mistakes in life, and all capable of doing great good. It was not quick or easy to come to this forgiveness, but in the long run it was profound in changing the quality of my life.