About two years ago, I broke up with my fiancée. It took a day of arguing, crying, yelling, loneliness, and confusion to really make the breakup final. One day she was in my life as no one else was or had been; the next day she was out. I was sad we couldn’t work things out, but relieved at my decision, and felt strong about sticking to the course. Our relationship was toxic and I had to let myself go from her.
Today I am more mature and definitely happy. But that quote I have added as a beginning to this reflection really dives into a point I don’t hear of often. To get real results with forgiveness is not necessarily to go looking for a scenario where a person can obtain closure. In fact, that’s downright selfish. My idea of closure may be drastically different from my ex-fiancée’s idea of closure.
Instead of seeking closure from her, I sought answers within my own actions. I sought to lay out all the wrongs I did against her both out of anger and naiveté. Afterall, relationships are not one-way occurrences. If it was toxic, I had some part of making it toxic. I sought counseling. I read and reflected. I prayed for myself. I allowed myself to fall in love again, and get hurt; to start over again, and to be vulnerable again.
I prayed for her almost every day, and then every other day, and then after four or five months, I prayed for her on occasion. I recognized that I was not helping the healing process for myself if I frequently reviewed my past with her. I had to trust that she was being taken care of and being prayed for by others.
Remember Jean Vanier said to acknowledge our stories? I’m acknowledging that even after a harsh break-up, and going to counseling, I still messed up with other brand new relationships. Yet, I have not quit believing that I can do better in my relationships, and especially in dating. I have gotten back up, and take all events as learning experiences.
Forgiveness is coming to an acceptance of what is broken and letting go of regret or resentment. Moving on does not meaning the brokenness is gone. It means acknowledging our scars and walking forward with them, not shying away from our needs. One of my major needs has been to be consistent in my prayer life, and attend prayer with a community, regardless if I feel I “get something out of it.” The gift has been in the stability rather than in small moments of joy or peace, which do occur, but definitely not every time.
It really did take double the amount of time I was dating my ex-fiancée to move into a healthy mindset about my relationship with her. I have not spoken to her for a very long time, nor do I intend do. But if I did run into her, I pray that I would be nothing less than sincerely courteous to her and able to wish her well, without sounding condescending.
My prayer for you, the reader, is that you too will find quiet time to look into your past hurts and scars, and then with much hopeful resolve, ask God to open your heart to that gift of forgiveness so that you can be a light and companion to others as they wrestle with their own brokenness.
- Forgiveness; Why Me? (rodneyorr2011.wordpress.com)
- The Heart of the Matter (barbcominghome.blogspot.com)
- My past post on a memoir from a Rwanda genocide survivor and her act of forgiveness.