For me, the guidance so often comes like the softness of a whisper. Just the thought of it reminds me of the moment in the movie ‘Phenomenon’ when John Travolta’s character pauses and looks up at the trees, swaying gently as though the winds are whispering mystical secrets across the branches and through the leaves.
Forgiveness is the sentiment, the prayer, the truth coming through this week. I’m not someone to hold a grudge, and I can move forward pretty easily. Letting go, cleaning out, creating change…all seem to go ok for me. And although we have been working through the challenge of parenting three teenagers, I truly couldn’t imagine what forgiveness has had to do with it all. And yet….a minimum of three occasions brought the word into my consciousness, with the first two being on the same day.
I believe forgiveness to be the act of letting go–of blame, of how we wish it could have been, of what we feel was done to us, of what we wanted but didn’t get. I also believe that the Universe is guiding our every step, and although we have free will, there is a path, a purpose we are here to carry out.
When I looked up forgive in the thesaurus, it seemed pretty clear: ‘stop blame and grant pardon.’ In this particular situation with our son, I have searched within myself to find what it is I need to let go off, to forgive in order to continue healing and moving forward. There’s nothing I’m upset with him for–he’s not harmed me in any way a parent holds onto. What I did realize when the word first began to speak to me, is how tightly I hold onto that little boy image–sweet, loving, needing his parents, finding his every desire fulfilled within the confines of his family. THAT is a difficult thing to release and move past LONG after our children have already chosen to do so. Yes, I’m ready for this next step of our lives, my husband and I together, however I’m becoming very aware of just how much I’m subconsciously holding onto our children–and what was. This is their time to move on, to ‘cut the cord’ so to speak, and to become fulfilled in who THEY are.
A bit of AHA! in that awareness, yes, and yet the process has continued on–‘there is more releasing to do, Jackie.’ Somewhere within that word–forgiveness–is enfolded another word–‘surrender.’ In order to truly forgive we have to surrender to the Universal truth that there is purpose in EVERYthing. Even when WE cannot see or feel it. And so the journey goes deeper: another strong truth of being a parent is that when our children are unhappy, when something isn’t going quite right, when there are ‘ripples’ in the smooth surface of their lives–without even recognizing what we are doing, we turn the finger toward ourselves. Guilt, sadness, responsibility begin to bear down hard upon our hearts.
I could tell you with full honesty that we have done our very best raising these three beautiful souls. And yet, my mind knows there will surely be SOMEthing within them that will feel differently at one point or another in their adult life. As humans, we are so programmed that someone else’s unhappiness is somehow OUR fault. The greatest lesson my son is teaching me is that it’s not my job to make someone ‘ok.’ I can’t take responsibility for his happiness–something that is less visible when they’re little and dependent upon us. But these are young adults in my home now–making their own choices, honoring their own desires. It’s no longer mine to choose their next steps.
And so this is my choice today: to forgive myself for not being able to ‘fix it.’ To release the negative energy of blaming myself for the unhappiness, chaos and struggles of those around me–especially of my children. I know this sounds simple….and I also know it will require the stamina of my soul to acknowledge its truth on a daily basis. Still, I’m choosing it. Forgive. Let go. Honor what IS rather than what I wish it to be. I’m no superwoman, and yet I can see so clearly how I’ve been trying to be. Forgive ME. Release ME. As my light shines, so then do the lights of those around me. When I forgive and release ME, I forgive and release those around me.
*Thank you to Joss Burnel for her post Forgiveness vs. healing