It is my great privilege to have a spiritual director who helps me sort through the testings and restings of my personal spiritual journey. Today when we met we talked about many things going on in my life but most of all the peace that seems to have settled on me in the past few months. Even after our talk I can’t really put my finger on a reason.
Some of it is about learning, finally to forgive many people who have hurt me and my family deeply over the years. Most significant may be those who hurt my son and who’s victimization of him as a small child ultimately led to his death. Also the a string of people who were professionals in a mental health system which failed him and us.
Learning to forgive and let things go is not something that comes easily to anyone and it is not something that happens with lightning speed. It has take me 15 years to figure it out and I’m sure I still have some work to do but now when those moments of fury rise in my soul I realize I need to let it go and consciously forgive again. It is much like peeling the onion. You peel away each layer and when you are finally finished, there is nothing left.
Let me explain something before you get to upset with forgiving people who probably don’t really deserve it.
First and foremost forgiveness is not to benefit the forgiven but rather the forgiver. When I stop hanging on to the anger, the hatred, the furry and let it vaporize I free myself from that terrible knot that rises from my heart into my throat and steals my voice and my joy.
Another by product is that when I finally let it go I also let them go. Rather than bringing all the pain of their action on myself I allow them to deal with it themselves. It is one of those strange paradoxes in the economy of creation. You have to forgive someone before they can get what they deserve.
I struggle for an analogy but it is as if, when you are hurt you take on that cloak of the person who has hurt you. The cloak sticks because of your anger and won’t let go. Then when you finally work through the pain and forgive the cloak returns to the rightful owner. Then all those daggers which were headed toward you find their mark in the real owner of the problem.
Tomorrow my son would be 32. It has always been a special day in our house. Time to decorate the tree. Tomorrow it will be the same. I will go hunting for a tree with at least one of my grandchildren. We will laugh. I will dig out the ornaments and as I find spots for Bryan’s special ones on the tree I may shed a tear or two but I will feel joy again.
I would like to add a special word tonight for another mother who lost her son today. The circumstances were very different but the pain of a mother’s heart at losing her child is like no pain on earth. My love and prayers to the Wall family of Port Dover. I wish them some joy even through their pain. Geoff was a bigger than life sort of young man and gave much to his family and community. He will not be forgotten.