David, Me, Scott, Hannah, Brian, Katie, Evan
It’s really not. That’s been happening for a while now. There’s not hate. Or desire for revenge. There is some anger. Tears. A lot of confusion and questions, especially now that I have and love children of my own.
But it’s not really about forgiveness.
It’s about rewiring the circuitry.
I get that it’s broken. I’ve moved on from that. I’ve moved on from blaming. I’ve moved on to seeking out healing.
Well-meaning people keep saying things like “forgive, so they don’t have the power to hurt you anymore”. I know you mean well. Please just hug me instead, or don’t judge my unfinishedness. That’s the lovingest thing you can do.
I’m not holding on to hurt. If that was all, I’d have let go a LOOOOOOONG time ago. When broken people have hordes of offspring with no thought to their own wholeness, they crush their kids. They wire them wrong. They tell them f’ed up things that make them unsure of their worth, both to mankind and to the God Who created them.
I cried today. Because it’s September 11th. But not because of the tragedy that hit our nation that day over a decade ago. Before you gasp at my cold heart, hear me out. I got home from school that day to something that never should have been said to me. That never should have been said to my siblings. Or to any child, ever.
“You’re just like those terrorists.”
I remember it every year. And then I stuff it back down in the box where I keep everything connected to my childhood, lock it up, and go on.
This year I took it to therapy with me. Until this point, I have always remembered it as something said to me, neutrally, with very little in the way of positive or negative emotion attached to it. Very carefully.
It was wrong.
I honestly didn’t know that. I’ve thought for the better part of 27 years that the emotional, verbal, mental, physical, and spiritual abuse was merely their idea of doing the right thing, and who was I to say that they were wrong in any of it? After all, don’t we all make mistakes in the name of doing what we believe is right? There is a difference between making a mistake and abusing your children. Having a difficult day is not the same as discarding human decency in the name of parenting.
I am terrified that I am a horrible parent. That my love compass is broken. That I am irreparably destroying the single most amazing thing that has ever been in my life. The more I heal, however, and learn that the way I was raised was not an acceptable childhood, the more confidence I have in being a mom. The less fearful I am of myself. I am not her. I am not broken beyond repair. I can love. I am loved. I am as normal as I need to be. I may be re-raising myself along with my 3 children, but I am ok. Do I mourn the childhood I should have had? Yes. But I have forgiven. That is not my burden to carry. It’s such a mess that only God can sort it out. I am left with pieces, and empty spaces, but He restores my youth like the eagles.
So, no. It’s not about forgiveness anymore. That was awhile ago. Forgiveness doesn’t make me magically unhurt. There is no magic reset button. It doesn’t undo 16 years of trauma. It just puts things in the right place so I can start to untangle my own mess and realize just how precious I actually am.