SURVIVAL & HEALING

FORGIVENESS Is The Key

A Key Element

I have realized over the years that forgiveness is a key element in staying healthy and happy. It’s important to be able to forgive and move on. It is healing for the soul!  

Life is so short. It passes with a blink of an eye. Why waste one minute of it being angry at someone and not letting the past go. I stress this to my loved ones all the time. My belief is that we were put here to learn unconditional love and to learn from our mistakes.  I believe people are placed in our lives to help us learn these lessons or to help us be a better person. When I am faced with a difficult person or challenge I always look for the lesson in it. There will always be one. Each of us has to be open to receive it.

We all Make Mistakes

We all make mistakes. There is not one of us who is perfect. Forgiveness is being able to look past the mistake of another and to see the human being behind the actions. But it takes time. I have learned many times over the past 50-something years that it is a process. It’s not about ‘giving in’ or ‘surrendering to abuse’ but acknowledging that it has happened, taking the time to heal from the pain or anger and then letting it go.

Once you go through these steps the true healing begins. Letting it go is hard sometimes. And we may not ever FORGET but if we can get to the point of forgiving, even the forgetting becomes easier. 

Extended Family

Some people think my life is strange while others think it is wonderful that I can see beyond the pain or the anger and love unconditionally. I have had others look at me like I am nuts when they find out that my huge extended family consists of  my children, my significant other, his ex wife, his children, my ex husband, his ex that came before me and had his children, her husband, their children, his ex and children, my ex husband’s new wife…. the list goes on.

Life is so much more amazing when you have a village, when you can forgive and extend open arms to everyone around you and grow your village. 

It is not uncommon to drive past our home many times during the year and see our house or backyard filled to the brim with these extended family members. And all of them know they are welcome anytime! Every time my daughter visits from Atlanta we have her brother and his family, her step brother and his family, my ex husband and his wife and we are all happy being in each others company.  

End of a Marriage

When my marriage ended it was not pretty. There were harsh words, many tears, painful memories, but over time I was determined that it could not be that way. We had children together. There were 18 years together. We might not have been good at marriage but we raised wonderful children and that counted for something.  I refused to ever say a bad word about him. He made mistakes. I made mistakes.

In time we slowly got over the past and realized we were better at being friends than at being married. Our children became better people for it. They had parents who worked together to raise them. I am always asked how I can be friends with someone who made my life so miserable for so long.  It’s easy. We forgave each other. We learned from our mistakes and moved forward better people for it. 

Another Ending

My second marriage didn’t end as volatile. But then again, he was very private and quiet anyway. So when I left, there was sadness and a little bit of coaxing to get me back and then a period of healing before he called to apologize for hurting me. We didn’t have children together but we continue to remain friendly. And again….. forgiveness was the key. He isn’t a bad person, he just made bad decisions when he was angry.  That doesn’t change who he is as a soul on this earth searching for meaning. 

I am grateful for the lessons we learned from each other. I think I helped open his heart slightly. And he helped me be a stronger woman who can stand on my own two feet and he helped me find my creative side again. So when I look back at that 10 years of my life, I don’t see the pain or the loneliness anymore. I see the good, and the lessons that came from it.

Finally Happy

Now that I am in my own happy relationship I live in the same manner. I made sure that my boyfriend’s ex wife was in our lives. I enjoy her company. When we visit his daughters, their Mom will always be included in our outings because it’s important to me.

It’s important to gather as many wonderful souls into our circle as humanly possible. And through this process I think she has also started to forgive. That is my hope anyway. Because forgiveness is important. 

We should look beyond the mistakes from the past and see that there is still a person behind that behavior that is searching for some meaning in this lifetime. Humans are not perfect. We make mistakes. But we all have so much to offer each other. 

So, there you have it! I choose to forgive. It’s who I am.  My life is so much richer because of it.

“Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.” 
 – Paul Lewis Boese

 

 (A tiny portion of our extended family!)

 

 

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6 Comments

  • Sheri

    This post is awesome. So many people waste good years resenting and the children are ultimately the ones who are hurt and completely innocent! I too have a relationship with my ex and his wife. We work together. Is it always easy? No. But it is what is best!! Thanks for the great post!!

    • Shannon

      Thank you for the comment. It’s actually good to hear that others feel the same.
      There was a surprise 40th bday party for my stepson this weekend. My boyfriend and I spent the entire evening with the enormous extended family and we all had the best time. We sat with my ex and his wife and my ex’s ex…. ha ha. It was a perfect night.

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