I was watching couple of days ago a speech on forgiveness. On how we should forgive the ones that did us wrong really fast, so we can move on and be happy NOW. There were some catchy lines there like “let go so you can grow” or “until you handle it with grace, it stays in your face”. So I started asking myself: why should I forgive everything? ‘Cause some motivational speaker says so? Because my priest says so? Because you say so?
Why is this modern trend forcing me, in order to be regarded as a “kind person”, to forgive wrongs done to me intentionally? And forgive them fast? Why am I not allowed to just feel whatever the hell I want, for as long as I want?
I am beginning to get more and more disturbed by the pressure that carefully self-created images of people around us place on the way we should act, think or feel, in order to be considered good guys, nice fellows, “normal” persons.
I don’t want to forgive everything. And especially when somebody practically orders me to. I don’t want to get in touch with my Christian side whenever a person that knows me, hurts me with intention. Because that is the case I really have a problem with.
The most recent event of this nature happened almost three months ago. Imagine what it felt like if it took me three months just to be able to write about it!!! A person I have put on a pedestal fell, fell from there with his own intention, choice and deliberate act to hurt me. All the way down from that 44th floor pedestal. And when he fell, it made a loud sound. The sound of my heart being broken. The sound of my mind keep looking for answers to my never ending questions. The sound of my tears that could no longer be silenced. The sound of my voice blaming me, over and over again for allowing me to put somebody so high on a pedestal. For allowing me to take off my hurt proof vest and just run but naked in the rain of a truthful and committed relationship. No hide and seek. No games. Just the ugly, naked truth.
No, it’s not a love relationship. Not by a long shot. It’s something sometimes more fragile: self belief. That little thing that you need in order to grow, to feel worthy, to keep being motivated, to really believe you can do anything you put your mind to. It’s the type of relationship whose ending has been eaten me alive for an entire month! That made me feel guilty for being so stupid. Not for trusting, but for trusting without ANY reserves in somebody that I thought wanted only good things to happen! So why should I forgive? Since the gestures were meant to hurt me? This is not some random Facebook acquaintance that I had a nice relationship with at first and then walked all over me on my own wall! Or some woman friend that I’ve met few weeks back and she hurted me because she did not know me well. Nooo! This is a lot serious than that. It’s a deliberate intention to hurt me from someone I spent a lot of time with. And that is something I cannot understand.
So how can somebody ask me to forgive something I don’t understand? No, I am not trapped in sorrow. Or despair. Or regret. Or hate. Or revenge. My life kept on going that day and the days after. I can’t just stop life because I got beaten or broken in half in order to spend some time just laying there on my knees and feeling sorry for myself. Hell, no. But I won’t forgive or forget. I am not seeking revenge. It’s a waste of time. I don’t have the will, the energy or the resources to get back at that person.
But I do believe the wheel is turning. And I believe in time. And in justice. So I know for a fact that one day somebody will do to him what he did to me. Out of nowhere, so he can feel the kind of pain that I felt. And I know that time will pass and one day the phone will ring. And he will need my help. Or I will leave a coffee house and I will be face to face again with this person and he will not know how to react until my eyes will show my feelings from that moment. Only then I will know if I have become a so-called enlighten person or if I will surely go straight to Hell as I have no idea on why I should forgive.
And I know there is a subtle justice in things around us, a justice that makes sure all the grief is rewarded with some joy, at some point. Maybe not as much or intense as the pain, but there will be some joy in exchange for this pain, without a doubt.
What other reasons do I have for not forgiving ? Well, I have passed through several stages since this happened – analyze the situation: wonder how I got myself into this, what did I do to cause it, rememorize things I’ve said , look into the past to see if there were any signs of this person’s real nature – then the blaming stage: blaming myself for the entire thing, blaming that person – then the later stage of “why”: ask myself over and over again “why”. Then the bounce-back stage started. Getting out of all that negative sea.
And what I have discovered in this roller-coaster ride of thoughts and emotions is that nobody and nothing can stop me from hurting in that filled with pain drama. I think that not even God could make it better. Because it’s not meant to be better or to be easy until I am ready for it. Until I have exploited every single piece of evidence against me in this “murder of trust in people” case, until I have exhausted all possible scenarios and motives for which this drama happened. I did all my best to get out of it sooner, to be a wise person that does not let this type of things get to her, but I just couldn’t do it. Not until my mourning ended.
I am not forgiving this person because from all the ten Hells that broke loose on me that day, one still lingers. Getting rid of nine out of ten, I guess it’s pretty damn wise of me. But that one remaining Hell will be a constant reminder of not trusting persons so easy, in not building pedestals so fast, in not undressing my shield so casually.
And even if just for that, not forgiving by force is worthy. I remember a conversation I had few years ago with Ioana, a former colleague, an amazing person. We were outside talking about some common interests and at some point she told me that when you stop having expectations from others, you will no longer be disappointed.
I remember having contradictory feelings that moment and hearing one voice in my head said something like “it must be really hard to see life like that” and another voice “God, she is so right” and then another one shouting “I want some of that, do that, believe that, act like that”. I was impressed mostly by the look and the voice of Ioana when she said that. She wasn’t bitter or false, she wasn’t posing as a victim or as a tough girl when the words came out her mouth. She said this completely natural, as a conclusion of years of living among people. She said it with conviction and serenity. I am far away from that state, I know.
But I also know that as long as forced forgiveness does not make me a better person, then it’s not for me. My only curiosity is this: when I will be face to face with my latest “unforgiven experience”, will I really be able to let it all go and look at him with the serenity Ioana had? Guess I will just have to wait and see.