Thursday, March 1, 2012
Waiting For Sorry
There have been times in my life when people have hurt me, dear friends. We have all experienced this sort of pain - when someone has transgressed against us, have wounded us in ways we cannot explain. We have experienced the pain of that wounding, and, often, the seething anger of resentment - because it was wrong. Because it caused us to suffer. Because it left us destitute of spirit. And we want to hear to some words. We desperately want to hear two words that while they will not erase the pain will acknowledge that the pain was caused. The words are, of course, "I'm sorry".
The problem is that those words don't always come. You can wait hours, days, weeks, months, and years. Or forever. You can wait forever to hear two words that will never come, for whatever reason. Perhaps because the one who has hurt you doesn't have the strength of character to say them. Perhaps because they don't think what they did was wrong. Or, even worse, perhaps because they know it was wrong, and they know they caused you pain - but they simply don't care, because your pain - your suffering - is meaningless to them.
And in the end that is the problem with waiting to hear those words. You can carry that seething anger, that burning need to hear those words, forever. It can burn brightly inside of you to the end of your days, and it can continue to cause you anguish and pain. And in the end, who does it hurt, dear friends? Does it have any meaning to the one who harmed you? Or, in the end, does it harm only you?
Once I heard about a couple who had a lovely daughter. Their only daughter, in fact. And she was murdered, horribly, senselessly. They were remarkable people, though - because they forgave her murderer. Even in the absence of the words "I'm sorry" they forgave. Not for him, not because he deserved their forgiveness - but for themselves, because continuing to carry the pain simply intensified it. Feeding into the fire would have simply stoked it, and it could have kept burning forever, until the day of their deaths. But they extinguished the fire. They forgave a crime that I doubt most people could even begin to forgive.
And so I too try to practice forgiveness, even in the absence of the words "I'm sorry". Some of those I have forgiven are long gone from my life, and will never know I forgave them. In the end, though, I forgave not for them, but for me. I may never understand why they chose to hurt me, and I may always feel some degree of pain - but I forgive them. I forgive them because it frees me, not because it frees them. Because in the end to wait for the words that may never come perpetuates the pain. I have the power to end the pain, by simply saying the words "I forgive you" - even without ever hearing the words "I'm sorry".
Posted by Theresa at 9:04 AM