Thanksgiving is coming up soon and it always gets me to thinking about what I’m truly thankful for: This week I am thankful for forgiveness.
I’m not a perfect person as my children like to tell me regularly. They tease me about my foibles, the eccentricities of their mother, and my outright mistakes. (Only they are allowed to do this though, they would set anyone else straight who criticized me.) I have had to ask for their forgiveness and I am so thankful that they have given it to me. I can’t imagine living with the guilt for the rest of my life, if they said, “No, we can’t forgive you, you are unforgiveable.” Their father and I made mistakes in our marriage, ending it in divorce, and today respect each other and have given forgiveness. Our children have benefitted from that and learned from it. We are a family who believes in forgiveness.
I had coffee today with a classmate from my high school days. We talked about forgiveness and how it correlates in today’s society. I shared with her that it upsets me that our entire society seems to have a chip on their shoulder and is unable to give forgiveness. What we have is a society of victims who can’t give forgiveness, choose not to move forward, and are unable to be healthy survivors. Here I am on my high horse, I know. There are wonderful examples of groups of peoples who were treated horribly in history and have moved on: the Italians, the Irish and the Chinese were treated as slaves, they mined and built our railroads receiving little or nothing for pay. They were spit on, beat up and called names. They are survivors.
When you act like a victim; people treat you like a victim; you are perceived as weak and unable to take care of yourself. Look around you. Some of you will think I am talking about a particular race, or culture, but I’m not. You see victims everywhere, regardless of whatever stereotype you want to name. I’m reading a book right now about coal miners in the Appalachians who were treated horribly.. Many moved on and survived; many didn’t.
I understand forgiveness, because I have had to ask for it and I have given it; both are tough. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget, as my children example shows, but forgiveness means you get peace. The negative energy it takes to not forgive, becomes positive energy, you get to move forward.
My Dad is in assisted living and I stopped up an visited with him the other night for an hour or so. When I left, I said, “Dad, I’m going to be gone for a couple of weeks, but will see you when I get back. He said, “Ok, well I will miss you.” “I love you Dad.” “I love you too Wanny.” Our family knows forgiveness. I know forgiveness. I wish it for you, with all of my heart.