How many times have you waited for that feeling? If I have this feeling, I know that all is well. I would know that it’s getting better. If I just felt it all the way in my gut, then I would know that I could move on.
Sometimes it does hit you, the settled finality. I’m done. Deuces. Drops mic. Upwards and onwards.
There are other times, though, that our sense of inner approval seems elusive. We keep trying and trying and the will to get past this life-changing obstacle isn’t strong enough.
My sibling has passed away. Can I really enjoy life without feeling guilty?
I’ve recovered all the losses from my business failure but is it safe to start again?
The cloud of divorce is far away now and maybe, just maybe, I can date – even with the kids. Or maybe not…
Forgiving was like that for me. Today, I remembered how hard it was.
Some time ago, a good friend and I had gotten into a major disagreement. Not a “why did you just come out of the shower and I’m outside waiting to go?” argument, but a real deal emotionally tumultuous, gut-wrenching, do I trust you? life-changing disagreement. I didn’t think we would recover. Though my friend wanted to reconcile, I was ready to drop it. I deserved better (see bitterness post). But I tried to forgive anyway.
I tried because we had been friends for so long. That was good enough to be able to hold awkward conversations when we had to see each other but that alone didn’t settle me.
I tried because some of my assumptions turned out to be wrong. That stung my pride and forced me to acknowledge some of my own wrongs but ehh, it still didn’t do it.
I tried because it was the right thing to do. Ha – this is the quickest way to realize your humanness because logic and rightness doesn’t come easy when the heart is involved.
I mistrusted, I tried. I prayed, cussed ’em out in my mind and then I tried again. I fell off and on forgiving so much that I lost count. Then a year into the process, I realized I didn’t feel uncomfortable being around anymore. A more astonishing phenomenon happened a few months later – I enjoyed being around again! I no longer felt the tightness of resentment in my chest that I spent months wallowing in. In spite of myself, I had forgiven. It managed to happen without the miraculous turnaround I was waiting for and instead had come in spurts of progress, each time I decided again to forgive. I still can’t believe it.
Forgiveness doesn’t feel the way I thought it would. It has taught me that forgiveness recognizes what can’t be changed, accepts who others are and whatever comes, but is determined to enjoy the present. It eliminates the fanciful wishes that everything will be the same again and makes life a foot-on-the-ground willful decision.
My message here is pretty basic: the feeling may never come. Forgive anyway. It might not even be reparable. Try it again. Whatever you’re going through may seem insurmountable but with each decision to get past it, you’re one step closer to wholeness.
Let’s share: How do you usually get resolved about a conflict or decision?
Photos by Shawn Arlington Photography. Check him out!