Healing the Wounds
My beloved sister wrote something recently and got me to thinking about healing the wounds that we carry with us. Here is what she said:
“So I’m playing with the notion of forgiveness. More pointedly forgiving my ex. Now I know he’s done many unforgivable and unspeakable things, but doesn’t God ask us to forgive those who wrong us? I’ve been mulling this over all day. I feel even if I do forgive him it does not mean in any way that I think what he did was right. But I do think forgiveness will lighten the weight on my shoulders. Food for thought.”
We are all wounded in one way or another. You cannot get to adulthood without being wounded. You were scorned by someone you admired and thought was your friend. One of your parents died when you were young. The person that you thought was your best friend betrays. You lose the job that you thought was going to be the best one for you. Your childhood was scarred by a parent’s abuse or unacknowledged mental illness. We are all carry wounds with us.
The question is how do we work on healing those wounds? How do we acknowledge and grow from our wounds without them defining who we are or who we want to be?
My mother died in a car accident when I was 23 years old. I grieved long and hard after that loss. About a year after her death I told the dear one that I was healing and that I was going to be okay. He asked me how I knew that. I explained it like this. There will always be this hole in my heart, the place that belonged to my mother, but I have knit soft stitches around the edges and it doesn’t feel so ragged or sore all the time. Recently I have realized that my emotional heart has a lot of those knitted holes, holes where I have been hurt, holes where I have lost a relationship, holes of grief. I carry them around with me but they don’t define me.
Now you may be asking what does this have to do with my sister’s question about forgiveness. Here’s the thing I don’t think forgiving someone for atrocious deeds is easy, just like I don’t think coming terms with a great loss is easy. I do think that my metaphor about knitting around the edges of the hole created by a grief can be used when talking about forgiveness as well.
The knitting of the edges of that hole of grief took a long time, it took many tears, many prayers and plenty of talking with friends and family. It took hard work and faith that I would get to a place of healing. I knit each stitch until I could breathe without bursting into tears. I knit each stitch so that I could remember how to laugh and love again.
I am working on forgiving those that have hurt me, the dear one, and our family. I am doing it by blogging about it, by talking with the dear one, by crying those necessary tears, by knitting soft stitches of forgiveness around the hurt until I can remember what happened and not fill full of anger. I am not there yet. I am further along than I was 6 months ago but I am not there yet.
It doesn’t even matter if those involved don’t want to be forgiven. As my sister reminded me we are asked by God to forgive others so that we can be forgiven. We don’t do it for the sake of the other person we do it so that we can heal, learn from those wounds, be open to seeing the wounds of others and stand with them. I will continue to knit those stitches until the wound is bearable and I can remember what happened without raging around my house. I will continue to knit those stitches until I can say ‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’ and not wonder when it will be true. I will continue to knit those stitches so that I can heal and be a healing presence for others. I will continue to knit those stitches of healing so that I can be the person God is calling me to be in the world.