"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it"
Today is Fathers Day so for all you dads out there – have a great day.
My father died in 1970 just before his 53rd birthday. I hadn’t spoken to him for 5 years prior to that because I hated him. (Harsh words, but all too true for me at the time) He was an alcoholic who was mean when he was drinking, and I finally decided I’d had enough of the yoyo cycle of anger and forgiveness. So I chose to stay in anger mode...even after he died.
I wasn’t sorry he was gone. It made my life easier because it was one less thing to deal with. But after many years of soul-searching and self-examination, I have come to terms with our relationship. While I know nothing of his life as a child, I believe that my grandparents factored heavily into who my father was because they were not warm and loving to any of their children. So I think my father gave my brother and me what he knew how to give – which wasn’t much. I believe he had his own demons chasing him and that he gave us the best he could based on what he had been taught.
I forgave him years ago because I needed to free myself. And I often wish he were alive today because I would love to know what went on in his life to make him who he was. Our relationship today would be much better, I just know it.
So to those of you who have loving relationships with your fathers, congratulations. Take this day to honor them. And for any of you whose relationships are built on fear, distrust, and hate, believe that you can work through the bitterness and find peace. Forgiving doesn’t mean condoning what someone has done. Forgiving doesn’t even mean that you have to let the other person know that you forgive them. It means that you push the hatred out of your own heart, and you do it for your own inner peace so that you can be a better person.
So today, honor your father. And if your relationship was similar to mine, believe that if he knew better, he would have done better.
Forgive someone in your life who has caused you pain. If you’re not sure how to start, write them a letter telling them exactly how you feel. Let your heart spill out on to the page.
When you’re done, re-read the letter. If you choose, go ahead and mail it, knowing that you will be opening the door to more pain until all the issues are resolved. If you choose not to mail it, tear it up and throw it away.
Either way, you will have made a start to clear bitterness from your heart.