Do you remember how easy it was to forgive someone when you were a kid?  It wasn’t just easier to forgive someone, it was easier to tell someone you were sorry.  As we grow older our hearts grow more frugal with forgiveness; we make people work harder to get it and they find it more difficult to accept it.  It isn’t easy to forgive someone, most times it’s damn near the most difficult thing you’ll ever do in your whole  life.  We often justify our ‘non-forgiveness’ by saying it wasn’t earned or you’ve seen no regret over the actions that caused you to be hurt in the first place.  I suppose the hardest thing about forgiveness is realizing that forgiveness isn’t for anyone other than yourself.  After years of living I’ve come to believe that most people don’t change so expecting them to change enough to deserve forgiveness rarely happens which leaves you carrying the burden of pain and anger.

Three days ago I wrote my brother an e-mail.  The brother who I still believe took my father away from me.  What I realized is that while he goes on with his life, free from the thought that he even needs forgiveness, I wake up each day with a heavy heart.  A heart burdened with the sense of loss so great that often times I find it hard to catch my breath.  And so I prayed to the God I have so much faith in even though I question his motives.  I prayed to my dad who I know watches over me; prayed for him to lend me some of his strength in order for me to find some bit of forgiveness.  I wrote my brother an e-mail telling him how my children question whether their Uncle Mike and cousins are also in heaven because they have not seen them since my dad died.  I told him how even though I’ve been so angry I wanted to find a way to be a family again.  I wrote down words which didn’t flow easily from my fingertips but I typed them anyway because I needed my dad to know that I’m trying – for him.

My brother never responded.  I suppose I wasn’t surprised but even still was disappointed.  When you finally reach that point when you are ready to forgive someone you want them to be there to accept it.  I’m realizing now that me forgiving him has freed me while his prison walls remain. 

Forgiveness is so  much harder at forty something than it was as a child but I suppose that’s because life in itself is harder.  Sometimes I wish I could find that child inside myself who trusted without hesitation, who had faith without question, and who handed out forgiveness without requirements.  Well dad….are you proud of me now?

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