Michael, a long-time acquaintance, was telling me how difficult he was finding it to come to terms and get on with his life following the ending of a seven-year relationship.
His girlfriend terminated the relationship some six months ago and moved from the house they shared into the apartment of a man with whom she’d been having an affair for the past two years.
Michael, learned of the affair a mere two days before she informed him of her pending departure.
He was shattered. In the time they’d been together she had had a relationship with another man and when he found out about it, she had ended it, begged for forgiveness and promised that never again would she stray.
After she moved out he learned that between the first external relationship and the present one there had also been one in the middle which had lasted a few weeks.
And now, six months later, Michael was still as angry, still filled with as much hurt and sense of betrayal as he had on the day he watched her load the last of her belongings into her new roommate’s pickup and drive away.
I talked to Michael about what I believe to be the necessary process for him to go through. It is my belief that in order for him to move forward and begin building a new and happy life for himself he must forgive this lady if a for no reason other reason than by so doing he would begin to instantly allow the bitter toxins of hatred and anger that he’d been harbouring for six months to slowly remove themselves from his body and to free up his soul to seek happiness.
There is an old saying that encourages us to ‘forgive and forget’ However, we were all born with a design flaw, we do not come equipped with a delete button so our ability to forget is indeed limited. We can however forgive and when we do so we become the beneficiary of our behaviour.
We do not forgive others to release them from their guilt, we forgive others to release ourselves from our pain and Michael was not yet ready to take this step.
Speaking with him reminded me of an interview I watched on TV the day after that terrible, tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, in Newton, Connecticut just over two years ago.
The father of a young, beautiful six-year-old little girl who, along with 25 others, had been brutally slaughtered by a crazed young man, was talking with a reporter.
In between sobs and tears while talking of his love for his little lost angel, the reporter suggested that he and his wife must truly hate the person who had committed such evil.
The power of his reply moved me to tears.
He looked directly at the reporter and said, “My wife and I will never dishonour the memory of our beautiful little girl by allowing anger and hatred to poison our souls.”
Those words, spoken by a man barely one day after suffering an inconceivable loss, really brought home the incomparable healing power of forgiveness.
I tried to explain to Michael that the greatest gift he could give himself in this moment was to forgive her, and to allow the anger and hatred to fade away and re-claim his life as his own.
Michael slowly shook his head and said that although logic told him that this was the right course of action his emotions would not allow him to take such a step.
The reason I’m writing this is Michael called me yesterday. He told me that he had purchased two books on forgiveness, read them both and, just yesterday, made the decision to unconditionally forgive his former girlfriend and to direct his conscious focus and energy into pursuing the life he truly wants for himself.
Michael, I am proud of what you have done. By forgiving her you’ve taken the first, and possibly most important step, to not only moving on with your life but to build one filled with happiness beyond your dreams. You have begun a detoxification process that will replace departing poisons with nourishing energy.
If a father can forgive the murderer of his child in order to preserve the sanctity of her memory and to enable his family to heal, then we can all learn to forgive, if for no other reason than to liberate ourselves from the anguish of non-forgiveness.
Thank you Michael, your story will, I’m sure, motivate many to consider doing the same.
Till we read again.